When students are learning new math topics, we often hear the infamous question, “When will I use this again?” This is a question that all parents and teachers have probably heard from time to time, especially with older students.
There are some advanced topics that may be brushed to the side once the textbook closes for the year. However, there is so much math that is a part of our daily lives that we oftentimes don’t recognize it. In a day, we always use math concepts such as telling time, finding the price of a sale item, cooking in the kitchen, etc. There are always math “problems” for us to solve.
While math may not be your child’s favorite subject in school, a love for this area of study can still be achieved. This can be done as your child builds his/her confidence with foundational math skills. More challenging concepts can be introduced after this without your child becoming frustrated.
Math skills are also extremely beneficial in the workplace or extracurricular activities. Consider finding your child’s favorite sport, activities, career aspiration, etc., and showing how math is used to do this successfully. Let’s look at some ways math is used in the real world and how your child can discover that they’ve been using math all along!
Think about cooking in the kitchen with your child. Even a simple meal involves backward time planning. Have your child pick a time that you want dinner to be finished by. Your child will need to consider how long all of the dishes take to prepare and cook to know what time they should begin dinner. When preparing food, capacity and fractions are two areas that need to be understood to cook. To challenge your child, try giving him/her only the ¼ cup for measuring, even when there are amounts that call for ½ cup or ¾ cup.
Many children are involved with sports or exercise in some manner. Basic math skills for sports include understanding scores and how many more points are needed to win the game. Additionally, children involved with track and field, swimming, etc. work with distances for these sports. Try to have your children play the role of an announcer while watching their favorite sport on TV. You may be surprised to see how much mental math is needed!
Shopping at the store involves a lot of currency-related math. Figuring out sale prices, sales tax, coupons, etc. are great ways to involve your child in the buying process. Try giving your child a “budget” to make sure that the items they wish to buy fall within the budget, even with sales, tax, etc
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your child can find joy in math and use it on a daily basis. It is never too late to instill of love of learning! Show your child how you use math to help you every day as well. There is nothing better than showing real-life experiences on how many are used every day.