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Math Is Everywhere

2012 April 12

By Lina Younes

Ever since my children were young, I tried to instill in them a love for math and science. So, when I saw the news of a new exhibit in the Washington area entitled “MathAlive,” it definitely became part of my “must see” list. Of course, I didn’t mention the title right off the bat. In fact, I told my youngest: “Let’s go see this new exhibit that has interactive snowboarding and you can also invite a friend.” She eagerly said yes to my suggestion. Although, the description pointed out that the exhibit had been designed mostly for middle-schoolers, I decided to take my chances. There were many activities for children of all ages.

The exhibit with interactive displays in English and Spanish included various hands-on-activities that clearly showed how math is an integral part of our daily life. From cooking, to music, sports, construction, transportation, built environments and nature, math is literally everywhere. As part of the exhibit, children were able to conduct some virtual “water testing” using math to determine if water bodies where safe to swim in.  Using math, children saw the direct correlation between contaminants and water conditions. There were similar experiments regarding air quality and other environmental issues. There were other areas focusing on robotics and space exploration.

While children may not have grasped all the math concepts in one visit, I think the exhibit definitely showed how learning about math can be a positive and entertaining experience. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the exhibit again. MathAlive will also be traveling to other cities in the United States throughout the year. Hope you have the opportunity to see it, too. Hope you’ll share your experiences with us.

About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

9 Responses leave one →
  1. kiyohisa tanada permalink
    April 13, 2012

    There is a calculation method having high utility value with “a wonder” in mathematics most.
    It is a correlation of “X” and “÷”
    When I find “a cost price” and “a profit rate” if I conduct a business,
    A “cost price “÷” cost price rate” = “sale price” is demanded.
    A “sale price” X “cost price rate” = cost price is found.
    Is simple,; but ,”÷”,
    I think that you receive a feeling of “the magic”.
    This calculation method becomes an adult and becomes effective.
    In addition, mathematics becomes interesting.

  2. May 10, 2012

    Math is beautiful, it seems boring only because it need to learn its own language. If one learn that language, it is easy and interesting.

    There are millions of ways math helps us in our daily lives. I tell my students about memorizing the 9 time table which is 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81 and 90.

    Now if we look at each number the sum of digits is 9. For example; in 18 adding 1 and 8 gives 9, in 63 adding 6 and 3 gives 9. Isn’t it beautiful.

  3. Rachel Kine permalink
    May 12, 2012

    Math is cool!

    I found this very cool article on a math site and showed it to my kids and they really got motivated to learn math and now they they math is really cool.

    The following article may be long but very motivational;

    Cool Math For Kids

    When I say cool math for kids, most people don’t believe me, as they think math is very hard and a dry subject. Even most of my students think like that.

    But math is really cool, if it is done systematically and step by step. Read the following presentation and rest of this site contains links to cool math for kids.

    I always give the example of stairs to my students, and giving the same example here. I compare the steps of a staircase to the different topics in mathematics. As this is very hard to reach higher floors of a building without stairs, same way learning higher concepts in mathematics without learning basic concepts, is not cool. People have to start from the ground, then first step, second, third and so on to reach their destination floor; same thing is needed for cool math.

    Cool math, is it really cool?

    Kids have to start from kindergarten, then grade one, grade two and three and so on to reach their math destination or to make math cool. Also, if some of the steps are broken in the staircase, it is still hard to reach the desired floor using those steps. Same way, if you are missing some of the basic concepts from elementary grades, math for you is still not cool.

    Kindergarten, first grade and second grade math are like first couple of the steps of the stairs. You can learn this level of math easily, as you can jump enough to take yourself to second or third step of the stairs easily. As it is very hard to reach sixth or seventh step of the stairs by jumping from the ground, exactly the same way to learn grade five or higher grade math is very hard (or impossible) without having the good knowledge of elementary mathematics.

    Now, consider one person is jumping on the ground to reach the third floor of a building. Can this person make it to the third floor this way? Never! if he is not Spider man. For this person, to reach the third floor by jumping is impossible or very hard and finally he gives up saying that it is very hard to reach third floor.

    Another person used the stairs to reach the same floor. This person finds it very easy and reach there with little effort. Compare this person to a student who knows all the basic concepts learned in elementary grades. To learn grade six or seven math will be very easy for such a student and he/she might say math is cool.

    Consider there is another student in grade six and doesn’t know the lower grade math concepts such as, times tables, factors and multiples. This student is in the same situation as the person, who is jumping to reach the third floor from the ground level.

    How to make math cool and easy?

    From the above example, it is clear that mathematics in each grade have the same importance. So, you need to be focused on math in all grades and on all the basic concepts. Ask your teachers lots of questions. Keep asking until you are not clear about the concepts or topics you are working on.

    Each grade acts as a step in the whole staircase to the mathematics high-rise building. Performing poor in math in any grade is like breaking some steps in the whole staircase. As broken steps make the whole staircase risky or scary to use in the future, incomplete math competencies in lower grades make math very hard in the high school.

    So, what it takes for math to become coolmath?

    My answer is; stay focused on math in each and every level of your studies. Participate in your class math practice sessions. Ask your teacher lots of questions until you are not clear about any concept.

    Mathematics is a subject of solving the problems on paper by hand rather than only to read them. As in case of Social Studies taking more readings make you smart, in math practicing lots of problems and solving them by hand makes you smart.

    To practice mathematics, math workbooks are the good source. Workbooks teach and explain a certain concept, then in the same workbook there are more problems on the same concept for practice.

    Another good method to practice mathematical concepts is using math worksheets and you can print math worksheets free of charge from the web. One good site to print free math worksheets is where free elementary math worksheets can be printed.

    Finally, choice is yours. You can choose the jumping method to reach your math destination or you can use right and proven path to reach your math destination. The right and proven path to make math cool has the following steps:

    * Start learning math as soon as you start your kindergarten

    * Focus in your math classes and listen to your teacher

    * Ask your teacher lots of question until you are not clear about the concept, you are learning

    * Practice, practice and practice. For this you can use math worksheets or math workbooks.

    If you take the proven path, one day you might say, “Math is cool.”

  4. Robert permalink
    May 14, 2012

    Very valuable and motivational page about math.

  5. June 13, 2012

    We have a great selection of math items for teachers and students.

  6. July 14, 2012

    Hi! Thanks for such a great post describing about the most complicated (for some people but not for me) subject maths. I loved to do maths and So I graduated in mathematics honors. I teach maths and science to my students from class 9th to 12th standard. I usually tells to make maths their friend instead of getting afraid of it. I also instruct them to practice..practice and practice all maths probloms to get hold of the subject.

    Regards,

  7. latasha hyman permalink
    November 28, 2012

    excellent

  8. shalini permalink
    June 11, 2013

    thanks i could make my project well.

  9. Alfred Gabriel permalink
    October 28, 2013

    Thanks for sharing the link, it won’t be in our area till 2015, my grandkids will be a little older and may be just the right time for them to experience all about math. My son and his wife are doctors are there will certainly an influence of a love for math for the kddies. But, grandparents like myself try to find every reason to spend with them right?

    The San Diego Space Museum is an appropriate venue to hold this exhibit, looking forward to it.

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