The Shocking Truth About Math: It Is Omnipresent Except In One Place


For those who are afraid of math, this news will come as a shock - math is everywhere. Everywhere means that it seeps through every aspect of our lives. It is not just limited to engineering, physics, medicine, or statistics. If you don't believe that, then perhaps you read about the recent news how mathematicians in the UK came up with an equation to make a perfect cup of coffee.

The idea isn't new. In the hit TV series of 2005-2010, Numb3rs, David Krumholtz who played Charlie explained the mathematics of baking the perfect chocolate chip cookies during one of their episodes.

Math is indeed everywhere. The problem, however, is that those who are supposed to illuminate students about math are far from illuminating. They look like those stern old teachers of yore with a stick in hand ready to hit someone who does not answer correctly. Therefore, math is everywhere except in classrooms, which is the one place where students are supposed to find it.

Instead, real mathematics is locked up in a cage, waiting to be set free. What students have today is a poor synthetic representation of what math is. It is a series of rules, formulas, and procedures which are regulated by strict curriculum guidelines.

If math becomes a type of food, it would be those unsalted, stale soda crackers - healthy but unappealing that you won't even give it a second glance. Kids will not even dare touch it. Moreover, if it were a vehicle, it would be an old bicycle with squeaky parts and a flat tire.

There are teachers and math advocates who tried to reinvent mathematics. Dan Meyer made a TED talk in 2010 how math needs a makeover. In 2015, Jason Wiles released a book titled, "Burn Math Class: Reinvent Mathematics for Yourself." However, making math appealing to students is not just the job of these people. If not, then math will just continue to be that monster that causes fear in the hearts of students.

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