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June 1, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

What is the value of studying math in education, career, and life

My answer is based on a distinction between “practicing math” (word problems that are in fact practical problems) versus drills.

I think there are 6 key skills one learns through mathematics (besides the overall habits of mind like curiosity, grit, and persistence):
Dealing with Data/Statistics (Spreadsheets)
Problem-solving (perhaps even multiple ways to get to a solution for the same problem)
Logic (particularly using proofs in Geometry)
Abstract thinking & Critical analysis of problems (breaking things down)
Patterns (Relationships, Nuance, and Pattern Seeking)
Personal economics

Other possible reasons Page on why study math (Warning this is roughly 25 pages long written by college students presumably in a math class)

This organization claims there are at least 40 careers in math: We Use Math In Careers (these are 40 different types of thinking arguably)

Further, here is a list of math organizations, which can provide further reasons one might want to study math: Tennessee Tech University

The question begs the issue of how mathematics is taught (ie what kinds of practical applications and problems are being taught). With more specificity on this point, you can focus the types of value created by studying math. For instance, math overlaps with a lot of subjects and human knowledge, but learning those skills isn’t intrinsic to studying math.

For instance, science, cooking/culinary arts, programming. and design all have math as a key component. But learning those ways of thinking isn’t intrinsic to the studying or practicing of math. Almost anything with data or money or numbers as component….can potentially be used as a tool to learning more about math and life.

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