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# Why Math Counts

Published by: Joshua Huihui | Date: July : 01 : 2011 | Categories: Huntington Beach 0

As a math teacher I understand that math can often seem irrelevant, boring, repetitive or abstract. At the same time, I understand that there is a practical application. For instance, engineers need to know their math with great accuracy.  If they did not, would you trust driving over underpasses or under overpasses? Would you trust walking into an elevator?

Some of the students I teach will go on to be engineers, researchers, architects, stock brokers, and other professions that will need to use complex math each day.  But what about those of us who will never be the architect of a high rise building?

I saw a Toyota commercial that states, “80% of Toyotas sold in the last 20 years are still on the road.”  You may hear this and think that your Toyota has an 80% chance of lasting at least 20 years.  But let’s talk this out…Imagine if Toyota sold 100 cars in the last 20 years.  Since Toyota sales have been increasing during those 20 years, let’s say about 60 of them were sold in the last 10 years.  Generally, cars are expected to last at least 10 years. So let us assume that 55 of these 60 cars are still on the road.  Then, of the 40 remaining cars (those sold between 10 and 20 years ago), only 25 remain on the road.  This is only 62.5% of those cars.  Presumably, those sold 20 years ago are the least likely to remain on the road.

Basic math competence and literacy is still crucially important every day. All of my students will need to understand ratios, proportions, percentages, how to balance a budget, what it means if they are getting a loan with 8.9% interest, or how much they actually will end up paying on their 30 year mortgage, etc., etc..  This is why math counts!

Richard Denny
Math Teacher/ Mentor

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