A couple of weeks ago, I asked my son to write an extra essay for a project we were working on for the Classical Conversations® Practicum. I allowed him to work on that essay instead of his math lesson for the day.
Suddenly, my daughter, Ada, did not want to do her math lesson for the day. I explained that my son was writing an essay instead and she asked to be allowed to do the same.
I thought, “Hmm… This is a good time for my daughter to think about why math is important and come up with her own reasons for studying this subject.”She wrote the following essay and we thought it might help parents and students to read Ada’s thoughts.
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.” – Albert Einstein
“Why Is Math Important?” by Ada Bianco
“Everyone agrees that learning math can be difficult, but some people believe math is important and some people believe math is not important. Math is important for three reasons: math is everywhere, children need math, and God created math.
The first reason math is important is because it is everywhere. It is used in everyday life. It is useful, but it is more than just useful. Math is there to help us, to keep us well ordered, to help us learn new things and to help teach us new things. Students will become adults who will use math in their jobs. All kinds of careers use math. For example, musicians, accountants, fashion designers, and mothers use math. However, math is not only used for things you do. It also brings order to everything around you. The world is organized essentially because it was made with math.
The second reason math is important is children need math. Now, as we all know, children are as chaotic as a volcanic eruption. But as they grow, children need to learn patience. Patience is precisely what math teaches us. It also teaches us curiosity. For example, why is this rule used here? Why would that number be negative? Why is that equation set up like that? These are questions they will learn to ask if they are taught math. The parents’ job is to help their children grow up to become good people who are patient and wise, who want to learn even more about anything and everything. Their future depends on what they have learned and if they have learned mathematics, then they will be able to do many different things—maybe even anything—when they are adults
The third reason math is important is God created it. This is a reason most adults use to convince their children that math is not boring and unimportant, so it may seem unoriginal. I believe, however, it is something that needs to be stated. God created the universe as well as math. The universe is full of math and it is orderly because of math. The sun is a certain distance from the earth; everything is organized in such a way that no matter what has happened we have always been safe. We need math. From this, you should be able to see how much we really do use and need math. We would not be able to process or even do everyday things without it. Math, in addition to these things, helps us to know God. God gave us math to live well and to serve Him. With everything we learn using math in science, we learn more about the world, which can help draw us closer to God.
Some people say math is unimportant because you don’t need math other than basic math principles—you can live without more complicated math. They say, if you need it, then simply use a calculator and leave the more complicated math to people who like math, the mathematicians. This, however, is not correct. You need math and could not live well without math, even including more complicated math concepts. God made us with a sense of curiosity so we can learn, do, and think about all sorts of things. Math is that thing that connects everything together, everything people love to do: music, cooking, painting, and everything else. Math is important.
Math is important because math is everywhere, children need math, and God created math. This matters to me and other children because math determines our future and how we choose to live.”
Understanding Why We Learn Subjects
Often, it’s not just our students who struggle to understand why math is important. Some of us can use a reminder as well. Hopefully Ada’s essay inspired you with reasons why we and our students should learn math. What students learn from math, just as with studying any other subject, can be applied to all areas of life. Having your student write a persuasive essay like the one above can be a great way to help them understand how a subject they are studying is useful in everyday life.
Of course, your student’s topic doesn’t have to be math. It can be history, geography, English, literature, Latin, science, or any other subject. Whatever subject they write about, this exercise is undeniably useful for helping them to understand the point of studying that subject. Perhaps they’ll even surprise you with reasons you haven’t thought of.
This article was originally written by Matt Bianco in 2015.
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