The Role of Mathematics


Do a random survey among grade schoolers with the question “Do you like math?” or “Is math fun?” and the probability of you getting more nos than yeses is high. For a reason or two (most times, more than two), a lot of people (kids and adults alike) dislike mathematics. If we are to conduct another survey on things people wish they can avoid, skipping math courses in school will surely give the matters of dying young and ending up broke tough runs for the top spot. I’m sure most of you can identify as much as I do.

Unrealized by many, mathematical skills are necessary to fully hone the potentials of our minds. On the most basic level of analysis, mathematics sharpen our *critical thinking skills. Concepts like postulates, axioms, and integrals are designed to challenge the functional structures of our minds to solve analytical problems, from the simplest to the most complex ones. Mind draining as it is, mathematical concepts and theories test our mental abilities in terms of logic and sound judgment. Being subjected to excruciating math problems helps us realize the immeasurable horizon of our powerful mind. The rationale of the complexities involved in utilizing the ideal and most appropriate problem solving strategy to arrive at the right answer, or at least, the one closest to it, extend beyond the completion of educational requirements. The end goal of requiring us all to learn math is to make each and one of us a better human being.

On the more practical level of analyzing its importance, having sound mathematical skills makes us a better entity in the many dimensions of our social existence. During pre-school and elementary years, the simple skills of addition and subtraction trained us to gradually gain independence from our parents. It trained our minds to handle the simplest problems we encountered from our day-to-day interaction in the society. It equipped us with the necessary mental kit for a smooth integration and subsequent adaptation to social activities that mostly, if not all, involved computing and quantifying, like buying a candy or a chocolate. At the latter stage of our lives, mathematical skills gain more importance. As we grow old, we face more difficult problems that are both personal and social in context. As such, the need to make sound judgments is more amplified. We cannot all the time be emotion-based in making decisions. Actually, most situations we face in our adulthood years require logical and objective ways of dealing. Where else can we get that competent training for logical thinking and critical analysis but through the math courses we have undergone through the years.

But we have to make something very clear here. We need not be like the great masters, Rene Descartes and Isaac Newton to attain that level of confidence in objectivity and logical soundness in decision making. We can be competently rational enough through comprehension of the basic concepts of mathematics. We need not come up with new paradigms of mathematical systems to ascertain our logical powers, though it certainly will be a great feat if you can. We just have to attain a good level of comfort and aptitude in handling various math problems and constantly practice the skills we are already equipped with. a number of math courses are available for interested parties. Each free online course covers a certain area. These may be areas in arithmetic and pre-Algebra (number and operations, whole numbers, fractions, signed numbers, and linear equation), algebra (mostly on appreciation and linear equations), trigonometry, and calculus. The sequence of topics in the trigonometry course gradually progresses in a very student-friendly pace, enabling students to better understand the very tricky dynamics of triangles and angles. Calculus is dreaded by a lot, but the course outline in allows students to determine their own pace of studying at their own convenience.

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