As a parent, you may have been confronted with the dreaded question, “Why is high school math important in life?” It is a common concern among students who may be struggling to see the relevance of mathematical concepts in their daily lives. In this article, we will explore how high school math lays the foundation for various STEM and non-STEM careers and its practicality in day-to-day life. We will also address why it is entirely normal for students to have these doubts.
High School Math and Future Careers
A solid foundation in high school math is essential for pursuing a wide range of careers, both in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and non-STEM fields. Students need to understand high school math concepts to excel in subjects like architecture, medicine, finance, computer science, and engineering. Let’s look at some examples:
- Architecture: Architects need to calculate measurements, dimensions, and angles to design safe and functional structures. High school math concepts, especially geometry and trigonometry, play a significant role in this process.
- Medicine: Medical professionals, including doctors and pharmacists, routinely perform calculations related to medication doses, body mass index (BMI), and other health indicators. A strong grasp of algebra and statistics is crucial in these situations.
- Finance: Financial professionals, such as accountants, analysts, and actuaries, rely heavily on high school math concepts, including algebra and calculus, to analyze financial data, assess risks, and make investment decisions.
- Computer Science: High school math is critical in understanding programming languages and designing efficient algorithms. Concepts like discrete mathematics, probability, and number theory are ingrained in the foundations of computer science.
- Engineering: Engineers of various disciplines use high school math concepts to analyze complex systems, design secure structures, and create cutting-edge technology. Algebra, calculus, and physics are some of the essential disciplines that apply to engineering.
As seen from these examples, high school math prepares students for careers where math is an integral part of their daily responsibilities. What does your child aspire to do in the future? If your child’s dream job requires postsecondary education that requires math, doing well in high school math will be very helpful for your child’s future career.
High School Math in Everyday Life
High school math is not just for future career preparation; it can also be found in many practical aspects of daily life. Here are a few examples:
- Budgeting and Financial Management: Managing personal finances requires knowledge of percentages, fractions, decimals, and basic mathematical operations to budget and plan effectively.
- Problem-solving: Math teaches critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are valuable in making daily decisions at work or at home. Many of the problem-solving techniques learned in school can be used to solve real life problems in workplace.
- Home Improvement: When making home improvements or doing simple tasks such as painting a room or building furniture, understanding measurements, and geometry can help ensure accuracy and save time and money.
- Travel: Whether planning a trip, calculating distances, or converting currencies, high school math skills are useful for efficient and hassle-free travel.
As demonstrated, high school math concepts are practical and applicable to various aspects of daily life, regardless of one’s chosen profession.
Understanding the Doubts
It’s important to stress the significance of high school math, but we should also recognize that many students don’t see how it connects to real life. They might not understand the value of math until they start college or work, where they’ll see how it’s used practically. That is natural. After all, if your high school child knows exactly where and how calculus is used in structural engineering, it means your child knows structural engineering in and out. Then, why would she or he need to go to university to study engineering any more? So, be understanding of your child’s doubts. At the same time, also let them know that expert professionals have developed the math curriculum specifically to give high school students the knowledge they need for their postsecondary studies or success in their career.
In conclusion, you can help your child understand that high school math is not only essential for future careers but also has practical applications in everyday life. Encouraging your child to embrace math, despite its seemingly unrelated nature, will ultimately help them build a strong foundation for future success.
Richard Zhang, M.Ed., is an educator and a software developer with a Masters degree in education from University of Toronto and an immense passion for education and learning. Until the pandemic, Richard owned an award-winning learning centre in Toronto. For 15 years, he has taught and mentored hundreds of elementary, middle school, and high school students succeed in academics. He is also an app developer specializing in web and mobile application in educational and business sectors.