Why Is Math Important

Why is math such an important part of our lives?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Math is necessary for even the most basic of life functions. Whether you're buying groceries, determining a budget for yourself, calculating interest on investments, or carrying out a whole myriad of other life tasks, math will somehow be involved. This is a fact I don't particularly like to admit, being...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Math is necessary for even the most basic of life functions. Whether you're buying groceries, determining a budget for yourself, calculating interest on investments, or carrying out a whole myriad of other life tasks, math will somehow be involved. This is a fact I don't particularly like to admit, being an English teacher, but let's face it -- the world would be just as lost without numbers as it would be without words (maybe moreso?). Granted, I was never very good at math, but it is unfortunately essential for basic survival.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Videos

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"The language of Nature is Mathematics."  How much or little we comprehend Math is exactly how much or little we comprehend.  Comprehension is probably a function of brain wiring; some are better at it than others, but most of us have endured the poorly taught math class with a revulsion for the subject, which is a shame.  Progress in commerce, science, and technology all depend upon math's comprehension; we may have had to learn calculus to do physics problems, but at the first, Newton's study of physics led him (and Leibniz) to develop calculus! George Boole in the 1800's developed a branch of algebra for logic manipulations; every computer in existence relies on them now. We've come a long way from adding and subtracting on fingers.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Math is very functional.  Most of us use it without even thinking about it.  Do you ever go shopping?  How do you determine how much of a product to buy?  You probably take into account how many will be eating, as well as how much you'd like each person to have.  If you're feeding a family of eight, perhaps more than a single box of macaroni and cheese would be in order, unless, of course, everyone is on a strict diet.

How do you know if bigger is better?  Lots of products come in "value sizes", usually with a higher price tag, yet with a bigger volume.  Simple math helps you determine whether or not you truly are getting more for your money.

Are "combo meal deals" really a better option at restaurants?  Why pay 3.99 for a so-called value meal at Mickey D's, when you can get the sandwich, fries, and drink for only $1 a piece? 

Math is used all the time.  The reasoning and logic behind it help us avoid getting ripped off. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I totally agree with those who talk about the everyday practical applications of math.  However, those are man-made necessities.  Arguably, so is music, although there is music in nature.  I think the most fascinating context in which we see math is nature.  Consider the fibonacci numbers.  Tree branching, leaf placement, artichokes, pineapples and pine cones, the spiral of a conch shell -- all reflect fibonacci numbers.  When we look to atomic structure, DNA, etc. there are more mathematical echoes.  Math is part of the universe.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In response to #6--Ha!  Mostly I agree with you...although you have to recognize math's significance.  I saw a sweatshirt over the break that reminded me of people like us.  It read:  ENGLISH MAJOR:  YOU DO THE MATH.  Tee-hee!  :)

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As an English major, I honestly wish it was not so important LOL! (I am only kidding!)  Beyond balancing my checkbook and for financial reasons, I would love to simply forget my years in geometry and trigonometry and calculus!!!

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Do you like music?  Music is heavily influenced by math--rhythms, beat, meter--all of this is math-based.  Without math, music would not be as advanced and intriguing as it is today.

Watch the TV show NUMBERS sometime.  It will give you some other ideas as to the importance of math in our everyday lives.  Even if you don't like math or aren't good at it, we must recognize its importance in the technological advancements, measurements (cooking and elsewhere), and daily life experiences.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Without people who can do math, we would not have many of the things we take for granted. We wouldn't have cars, highways, or plane travel--math is required to design and build such things. Tall buildings? Forget it--architecture is heavily math based. Anything that requires electricity also requires many math calculations to function.

But everyone needs to be able to do some math. Would you know if someone was giving you correct change when you buy something? How would you know which item was the best buy? How would you know the nutrition per serving of food? Could you figure out the amount of carpet to re-do the living room?

Unfortunately math has a reputation as being hard to understand, and kids can decide at an early age that they are not good at it. Keep at it; one of math's strong points is that it is very logical, and can be understood if the right methods are used to teach it. You may have to look and find other explanations for some aspects, but everyone can understand basic (and not-so-basic) math.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team