The science behind mathematics forms a fundamental part of human thought and logic. It is integral to our understanding of the world and ourselves. Mathematics is not just about numerical values, theorems, and quadratic equations. Mathematical exercise is an effective way of building mental discipline, logical reasoning, and mental rigour. Moreover, mathematical knowledge is also crucial to our understanding of other school subjects such as natural science, social studies, and even music and art.
Mathematics is needed for students to engage in society, especially with an increase in technology and digitalization.
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Students, especially those who wish they didn't have to do the math, often ask: why does mathematics hold such an important and place among other subjects? What is the significance of mathematics in the overall school curriculum? Here are a few thoughts for those students who may be encouraged to think differently:
- Mathematics has a transversal nature. The history of curriculum, in general, shows that mathematics (geometry and algebra) were two of the seven liberal arts in Greek as well as in medieval times. This historical role supports the notion that mathematics has provided the mental discipline required for other disciplines.
- Mathematical literacy is a crucial attribute of individuals living more effective lives as constructive, concerned, and reflective citizens. Mathematical literacy is taken to include basic computational skills, quantitative reasoning, spatial ability, etc.
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- Mathematics is applied in various fields and disciplines. In other words, mathematical concepts and procedures are used to solve problems in science, engineering, economics. The complexity of those problems often requires relatively sophisticated mathematical concepts and procedures.
- Mathematics is a part of our human cultural heritage. So, we have a moral responsibility to develop that heritage.
Most importantly, mathematics provides foundational knowledge and skills for other school subjects, such as sciences, art, economy, etc. This is why the issue of how mathematics is intertwined with other school subjects needs to be addressed. In some curricula, mathematics is offered as an instrumental subject to support the study of other school subjects, while other curricula offer integrated courses that combine mathematics and other fields.
Making Students Future-ready with Maths Education
Mathematics has a unique place in STEM education as machines do most of the calculations that students are taught in K-12. Moreover, to be a successful college and university student, general education mathematics requirements help students develop critical thinking and quantitative analysis skills.
Maths understanding is a gateway to understanding the world around us. We are surrounded by maths, although we seldom realize it. We use math skills and capabilities every day – every profession uses maths to perform their job better and to get ahead in the world.
Numeracy in Education
In simple terms, numeracy means understanding how maths is used in the real world and being able to apply it to make the best possible decisions. Numeracy is as much about thinking and reasoning as about 'doing sums'. In a nutshell, numeracy means being able to:
- Interpret data, charts, and diagrams
- Process information
- Solve problems
- Check answers
- Understand and explain solutions
- Make decisions based on logical thinking and reasoning
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Maths permeates every aspect of our lives – at work and in practical everyday activities at home and beyond. For example, we employ mathematical functions when we go shopping or plan a holiday, decide on a loan or decorate a room. It is not just students who need good numeracy skills. Parents also require it to help their children learn. Decisions in life are often based on numerical information. So, mathematical literacy is essential for making the best choices in life.
As students move through their years of schooling, they are exposed to mathematical understanding, mathematical fluency, problem-solving, and reasoning. These skills allow students to respond appropriately to various situations through mathematical applications. Research also shows that other areas of development, such as resilience and perseverance, support achievement in numeracy.
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Maths: A Universal Language
Maths is a universal technical language. Any achievements of students in the subject will be recognized in all countries of the world. While the mathematical qualifications in other countries might not be equivalent to those found in India, students can rest assured that their level of mathematical understanding will be universally accepted across the world of education, no matter where they are studying or working.
It is quite fascinating to think that Maths is the only language that is exactly the same for all humans, regardless of nationality, culture, religion or gender. So, why not sign up for Maths tuitions at home and boost the development of this universal language in your own life? Indeed, with the relentless march of digital technology, it is not difficult to find online maths tutors for class 11 math or for class 12 math.
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Mathematics and Logic
There are ongoing advances in technology at a rapid pace and the basis of many of these technological changes is mathematics and logic. These changes are so rapid that it would be difficult to predict the skills that people will need in the future workplace or at home in the coming years. But a good basis in mathematics, statistics, and technology will make students flexible enough to adapt to the advances in technology.
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Maths for Every Job
It is common knowledge that scientific careers involve the use and application of math. However, they are not the only careers to do so. Even operating a cash register requires a basic understanding of arithmetic. People working in a factory must be able to do mental arithmetic to keep track of the parts on the assembly line. In fact, every job requires math because one must know how to interpret the pay-check and balance a budget.
Models in Mathematics: An Invisible Technology
Mathematical models, as experienced and utilized by people, is an invisible technology. It is invisible not only in the actual numbers which the models produce as "solutions", but invisible in its derivation. These models are constructed by people who want an answer to a problem they see, based on their assumptions, using methods that they deem appropriate. The general public typically sees the answer only. They rarely even see the original question that drove the modelling process. Yet, they become consumers of these model-generated solutions.
Our relationship with mathematical models is like the relationships with many other technological developments. For example, many people find themselves upgrading their perfectly functional computers to more powerful, faster, and bigger machines to accommodate more advanced software. There may not have been any problems with the computer's existing software or the computer itself.
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Some mathematical models produce solutions that may be rejected by the public will reject. In many of these cases, the community is oblivious to the mathematics which has gone into measuring the risk factor of technological development. The specific questions which drive the decision-making processes for the different interest groups are quite different. What is rejected by the community may not really be what they thought they were rejecting.
The study and applications of mathematics have evolved over time to help us solve problems, big and small. Math teaches us to think logically and identify and state the problem clearly. Moreover, we use maths to plan how to solve a problem. Mathematics helps in the development of the ability to recognize mistakes in thinking or analysis of all that we encounter in our lives.
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