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Don’t Lose Sight of Math’s Usefulness


It’s easy in anything we do to forget why we’re doing it. In math especially, it can be easy for students to lose sight of why they’re learning what they’re learning.

As you head back to school this fall, remember to keep bringing math out of a textbook and showing its usefulness. Below are a few ideas.

Grade School

  • Play store by putting masking tape price tags on toys. (Make the costs children are learning–for example, a toy might cost 24 cents or 14 cents. There’s no need to write it out with decimals yet–24¢ works.) If teaching place value, have them figure out how many dimes and how many pennies are needed (for 24¢, that would be 2 dimes and 4 pennies). If working on addition, have them total up how much several toys would cost. If working on subtraction, figure out the change they’d need to give if you gave them a certain amount of money. Adjust the amounts to match the type of problems they’re working on. You can even sometimes let them use a calculator to practice inputting numbers…and to emphasis how, because of how faithfully God governs creation, we can memorize facts (or input them into a calculator) to make addition and subtraction easier.
  • Incorporate math into play. If your child likes to play with stuffed animals, play act a scenario where some animals go missing to illustrate subtraction. If your child is into blocks, make up a scenario where the block guy is given some extra blocks to illustrate addition. The possibilities are endless. If your child is into bugs, have them measure some bugs. If into playing princess, have a scenario where extra lumps of sugar get added to the princess’ cup.
  • Point out ways you use math in daily life–even if it’s something simple like setting the air conditioner’s or oven’s temperature…or measuring ingredients for dinner.

Junior High and High School

Students at this level now have the background knowledge to delve into some really cool applications and to see at a deeper level how we use math to describe God’s creation! Pay attention to percentages in the news. Capitalize on different science concepts they’re studying, pointing out the math involved (the Internet is a great resource to research–or have them research). Explore the math used in fields of interest to them. The possibilities are truly endless.

Need ready-to-go-ideas or a curriculum that already includes lots of practical examples? Check out our math materials.

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