Maths is fundamental to our everyday lives – to check your change when you are out shopping, to work out how much wood you might need for your DIY project or to calculate how much of each ingredient you will need when tripling the size of a recipe – the list is endless. However, there is much more to maths than arithmetic!
Just think how much pleasure you can get from discovering all the maths there is in nature – recognising the shapes, the symmetry, the pattern. The more you think mathematically the more you can ‘see’ in the world around you and the more you can appreciate and understand it.
Many people enjoy puzzles – using their minds to find solutions. Crosswords are one form of puzzle but there are many mathematical ones too. Problem solving is at the heart of mathematics, as is the search for patterns in numbers and forms and the ability to define how something works and predict what will happen in the future. The skills learnt through mathematics are applicable in so many fields and for this reason employers often look for qualifications in mathematics when at first glance you would not think they would be required. Even if you are not going to use maths for work there is a great deal of pleasure to be found in working out an answer to what at first appears to be a baffling conundrum.
Another area that is surprisingly rich in maths is music. This requires an understanding of pattern, sequences, fractions and ratio. I love my music, both listening and, even more so, performing. I am convinced that my mathematical background has helped me to appreciate and learn how to play music. I believe learning a musical instrument is beneficial to students so that they can develop precision, determination, resilience and social skills.*
If we can embrace maths to the best of our ability, with all its challenges, we can make better sense of our world and be able to take more advantage of what it has to offer.