In 2019, only 9% of American 4th graders tested at an advanced level in math.
It’s no secret that American students struggle with math. This may be because lots of students say they hate math. Because they hate it, they’re not motivated to study it.
But you may be wondering, why is math important anyway? If students hate it, do we really need to force them to study it?
If you still have burning questions about the importance of math, keep reading to learn more.
Practical Importance of Math
When you think about the benefits of math, your brain probably jumps right away to career-related reasons.
You’re right to start there. Math is essential to STEM-related fields that involve science, engineering, and technology, and these fields are growing exponentially in an increasingly technological world.
High school students don’t know yet what career they want to pursue. If they don’t get a solid foundation in math, they may be sabotaging their future selves.
This is especially true if their future selves want to become biochemical engineers, computer programmers, or electricians.
Math Teaches Soft Skills
Although there are lots of career-related practical benefits to learning math, those aren’t the only benefits.
Even if a student knows that they want to enter a field in the humanities, they should still study math.
Why? Because math teaches essential critical thinking skills.
When students practice math, they’re developing the parts of their brains that use logic to solve problems. These skills aren’t just applicable to math problems. They apply to any problem the students might encounter in life.
Think about it this way. If you were a football player, your coach would ask you to spend several hours a week in the gym.
Of course, you’re never going to stop and do hammer curls or deadlifts on the football field. But hammer curls and deadlifts strengthen the muscles that make you better at playing football.
In the same way, learning math trains and strengthens the parts of your brain that make you better at everything that involves critical thinking. That’s basically anything you can imagine.
To put it simply? Math makes you smarter, period.
Math Aids Brain Development
It’s especially important that young students study math in high school while their brains are still developing.
This is because math is crucial to proper brain development.
A University of Oxford study found that when students stop studying math at the age of 16, they end up with less of a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid.
This chemical is essential for problem-solving and critical thinking skills, meaning that these students ended up at an intellectual disadvantage because they stopped studying math.
Improving Math Skills Through Practice
Teaching math is hard because a lot of students say they hate math. They say that it’s hard or they just don’t get it.
Fortunately, that can change through practice. The more that a student runs through math problems and practices working with numbers, the more he or she will feel comfortable with math.
Practice makes perfect, so they say. But when it comes to math, we could just as easily say that practice leads to enjoyment.
Math Class Matters
Math is a game-changer. Students who understand the importance of math are set up for a better and happier future, so get out there and start practicing.
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