If you were to buy a cell phone 10 years from now, do you think that it will be the same phone you bought a year ago? Probably not. If you buy a car 10 years from now you’d want it made with better technologies, right? The same thing should be applied to education. But rather than 10 years from now, we need to have that sort of change within 1 year.
More and more jobs are in STEM-related fields, and knowing math is crucial to success in the job market. While there are those who question the need for higher math education, most can agree that it is needed and vital to our success in life. The problem is, the way that math is being taught doesn’t seem to work anymore. Luckily with the implementation of Common Core standards, teachers and schools are reevaluating the focus, scope and sequences of math instruction.
The problem lies within how mathematical ideas are implemented. The link between mathematical equations and their real-life application needs to be stronger. If kids can’t make the connection between something taught in Algebra and real life, then they will struggle when faced with that real-life problem.
Changing our approach to teaching math doesn’t have to be oriented around careers. Math can also be used to help study and solve social problems that affect us all. In a recent Rolling Stone article, “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math,” environmental activist Bill McKibben writes about how big of a problem global warming is and how catastrophic it would be for the planet if the global temperature were to raise by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to prevent and correct this, the planet needs to release no more than 565 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere. Unfortunately oil producing countries like Kuwait have upwards of 2795 gigatons of carbon which they plan on selling and using for energy. By using real life scenarios like this, math becomes relevant to more people than just future math teachers or engineers.
After all, you don’t want your kids to learn math the same way you did just as you don’t want them driving the same car you do now especially if it’s this car.
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