44

"Lately, my students keep telling me why what we are learning is not important. They ask me when will we use this in the real world?" There's a quick reply to this that I think people won't like, and you would have to be very careful using, but actually makes a more serious than it first appears. One possible answer is: "You're quite right. ...


37

Math is just as useless as almost any other subject As a math tutor, I've thought about this a lot over the last 15 years or so. Aside from tutoring, I don't use my math education in "the real world". Here's a list of educational requirements that I have also never used in "the real world": American literature (Hemingway, Flannery O'...


23

There are several possible explanations. Without much more information, it is impossible to give a clear-cut answer. Perhaps your student is able to "read" your unconcisious reactions very well, and you are telegraphing the solution. Some people just go blank in stressful situations, like an exam (you say it's not the case, but it might be anyway)....


18

I've never had success with giving a list of applications to such students - because, realistically, we don't use most of the math we teach. For example, I teach early equations in one of my classes, things like "solve the equation $5x = 15$". If asked why this question is "useful", I could give this answer: Well, suppose you were ...


15

The American Mathematical Society provides posters promoting awareness of mathematics, its beauty, and applications. Here's a quote from the AMS Posters website: "Students frequently ask when they will use the math we learn in real life, and your posters provide great visuals to support the answers to this question." The AMS also have "...


10

Trigger warning: math enthusiasts do not like this answer. They ask me when will we use this in the real world? When students ask when they will use something in "real life", they are rarely expecting an actual answer to how something is used. They are telling you: "I don't understand this." Rather than coming up with try-hard ways to ...


7

(not complete) You should have mentioned which were some of the topics where your student's noise pollution rates increased drastically. We could have been able to tailor our responses specific to your curriculum. Anyway, I remember one of my friends arguing why the chapter on polynomials was a silly chapter with no real-life application [ questions like $p\...


7

I had a similar student, these 2 things helped. Take mock tests with different criteria, like a test where questions are easy but paper is too lengthy to complete in time or sometimes very few questions but too difficult to solve and you`ll be able to filter out the exact problem. Ask your student to explain concepts to you or take a theoretical test.


6

I was this student throughout school and University. Professors would comment that I was smart, that I knew the material, but I'd still do poorly on exams. I made careless mistakes: I would sometimes forget to finish questions half-way through, clearly make simple arithmetic errors and just otherwise not give the exam the attention it deserved. Studying was ...


6

When he solves some exercises beside me he does very well, so I was thinking why he failed the exam, and I couldn't find a reason. Also when I give him some homework he do some parts wrong, but when I just point them out without saying anything he knows what is wrong and how to correct it. This is the problem. Carelessness. I too have this problem a lot, I ...


6

You do math to get better at logical thinking, not to get better at math. Similar to how world-class athletes train in the gym by doing many exercises that you'd never see them stop and do mid-match, learning and doing math trains your brain to make you better at other every day tasks. A lot of math (most of it, in my opinion) is learning how to analyze a ...


4

W.G., I think you have to engage based on the situation. If it is someone wanting an argument, or to disrupt the class, you can engage a little, but at a certain (quick) point, need to move on and just teach. It's not a winnable argument, per se. That's not to say that no motivation should ever be given. It is good if you can do so at times along the way ...


3

A simple answer would be: "You will date more than one person in your life but you won't know in advance who is the one, unless you give them all a substantial try. If you never do that you'll miss an important part of a full life."


3

Would it not be interesting to ask students who voice such opinions to substantiate their answers with examples of situations where one would think that mathematics would be of importance but is not? One could ask a student to give a presentation of why number theory is of no importance in cryptography or why calculus is of no importance for optimisation ...


3

My kids have asked me this and i just responded "You are wrong. History, geography and most subjects i learnt at school were pretty much useless to me, and i have forgotten most of it, but maths is the only subject I have needed on a daily basis. I need it for all kinds of things." From time to time, i involve them in the maths i need. When i am ...


3

Because the sum of all the subjects helps to make for a well rounded education. This keeps all opportunities in life open to you. The math learned by sophomore year of high school may actually be enough math for the average person. But even though a lawyer may not ever use the law of cosines, the law school they want to get into expects a HS transcript with ...


3

Khan Academy has great problems for drill. I have often used it for careless students. Advantages are: there are no clues from you if it's wrong the computer will say so and he doesn't get credit for understanding, so he will learn to focus on accuracy he will have a chance to correct it which will reinforce his understanding and accuracy. he can do this ...


2

•Have him create a short 10-question exam for you and/or for some younger students. (just to give him different perspective - from that of the test maker) Explain why some missed some questions and some missed others. •Give him the challenge of creating a math test by giving him the answers first and he has to create a question to get that answer. •Discuss ...


2

That same thing happened to me when I was in school. Even in University it still happened to me. Even now as a programmer I still see the same pattern happening to me. I was conscious of the problem, but had no solution. In fact, I don't think of it as a problem, but as an advantage (I'll discuss about this below). When I do maths exams, I like so much ...


2

It Depends, do they want a Good job? Consider this list made by US News and World Report of the 100 Best Jobs. Almost all of the jobs on this list fall into one of two groups: Medical/Health Careers, and ... Jobs that require A Lot of Math Skills Go ahead, go through the list: software developer, statistician, financial analyst, etc. What do they all ...


2

Give real world examples of how maths applies to everyday job functions, go beyond cash, tax and cost planning and apply it to physical tasks. It is important in almost any real world building project to check for square and for setout. An understanding of triangulation, pythagoras and the use of 3/4/5 triangle rule in measurement is the only thing that will ...


2

Why do people go to the gym to work out or take spin classes? Is lifting heavy weights or spinning a wheel on a stationary bike a useful skill they need to practice to succeed in their ordinary life? For most people, no. They do it, because going through those motions helps train their body to endure physical stress without wearing out. That helps them ...


2

Here a lot of subjects at university require quite a bit of math. Students who didnt pay a lot of attention during high school have a hard time and a lot fail. And it is usually a surprise for the students when studying majors like psychology, or archeology that they have to pass one or two math modules (mostly aiming at statistics, but you need also a bit ...


2

Give them practical examples Engineering is a good start. But equally well, you could relate it to simple DIY. The most obvious example is Pythagoras. You're building a covered area next to your house. The house wall is 3m before you get to the gutters; and you want the posts to be 2.5m tall. You've got 3m of patio. How long is the roof? because you ...


2

You need applied mathematics to make reasonable life choices. Talk with them about compound interest and payday loans. (And make sure that the example also includes some fees.) Talk about the reproduction number of a virus and what increasing or decreasing it by a couple of percent means, some months down the line. Talk through different mobile phone ...


1

To be honest, if we're speaking of secondary school mathematics, most people don't need them in real life. Most people won't ever find a situation, where they would need them. Most of the occupations that need math need nothing that isn't in the elementary school syllabus. And still, elementary school syllabus has things that have no practical applications ...


1

There is an extra dimension, because they might not be using mathematics directly. I am a big fan of knowing how and why something works, and there are many applications of mathematics they use every day but don't think about. The Adds they see when theybrowse the net are based on statistical algorithms, using many factors The phones they use to communicate ...


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