Three Ways to Use Math in Everyday Life

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Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard students or our kids say, “Why do I have to learn math? I’ll never use this after I graduate.” There are many ways we use math daily in our lives. I will list only three ways to use math in everyday life. The three ways are: 1. Making change in the market place. 2. Calculating how much to buy. 3. When using weights and measures.

1. Making change in the market place seems like an easy thing to do, however how many times do we get the wrong amount back at the cash register? Now the cash registers do the calculating for us. There are still the times when we have to figure this out for ourselves. Say you want to buy a sweater for $8.00 and you only have five dollars. How much more do you need to buy the sweater? Maybe you have a ten dollar bill and you give it to the cashier. How much should you get back? It’s easy with the round numbers, but what about the $7.98 type prices that marketing insists on? This is a skill we will continue to use the rest of our lives. Making change in a play store at school is a great way to practice and learn this skill.

2. Calculating how much to buy. Whether you are building a shelf, sewing a dress or buying food for a dinner you will have to use this skill. Building a book shelf four feet long and two feet wide and four shelves high will take how much wood? If you have four shelves on your book shelf you will have to multiply the amount needed to make one shelf by four to find out how much wood to buy. You will also have to calculate the amount of wood needed for the sides and back unless you use bricks or brackets. Likewise when sewing a dress you will have to decide how much fabric you will need to cut out the pieces. Usually, this is calculated on the back of the pattern. If you want lace on the dress, you will have to calculate how many yards you will need. When buying food for a dinner, you will have to decide how many people you are feeding. How much meat or vegetables you will need for each person will depend on their age and appetite and that will tell you how much you will have to buy. This is a skill that can be developed through practice. Some people are better at this because of their experiences. Some of us need much more practice. However, if we know what we are doing because we listened to the math lessons, we will more likely make better calculations. This practice makes a big difference when you are on a budget. You will save money because there is less chance of wasted food.

3. When using weights and measures in cooking and even purchasing food or other measurable products such as sand, granite, etc. you will automatically need to calculate. I have a friend that teaches math calculation through cooking lessons. They have fun measuring out the ingredients and eating the final product. When I made and sold cookies to the neighbors, I had to carefully calculate how much flour, sugar and other ingredients I needed so I didn’t have to stop and go to the store while I was mixing up the ingredients in the recipe. When we needed to buy sand for the sand box we had to calculate how much area would be filled with sand then buy that many bags of sand. When my son did his Eagle Project he had to calculate how much granite he would have to have delivered to fill in the space around the plants at the church. This is definitely a skill we will use throughout our lives.

There are many ways we can use math in our everyday lives. I have addressed only three in this article, i.e. making change in the market place, calculating how much to buy and using weights and measures. These are skills are worth developing to make our lives easier. Now, when the students ask, “When am I ever going to use this?” you can tell them.

Thanks for listening,

Sheri

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