Some studies reveal that there are many people who have difficulty extracting mathematical information from real situations, perhaps because in their formative stage more importance has been given to the approval of a test than to show the day-to-day application of mathematics. Some understandings say that, in a convenient focus, math can be fun.
Today, very often, when talking about mathematics, a certain rejection tends to occur. It’s like we’re afraid of math. Why is this happening? I think, fundamentally, by a lack of knowledge of the everyday use we make of mathematics and its usefulness; And also, because we find it difficult to link mathematics with language.
Let’s see: The PISA report (International Programme for the evaluation of Adult Competition) presented in October of the year 2013, carried out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, shows that many Spaniards have a very low performance in mathematical comprehension and reading comprehension. The study conducted on a population of 16 to 65 years reveals that the vast majority of Spaniards of these ages have difficulty extracting mathematical information from real situations, how to compare packages of tourist offers, solve problems of several steps, calculate the final price of a purchase or calculate what can cost an offer of 3, interpret statistics , to evaluate the graph that appears in the receipts of the light, to calculate interest of loans, etc.; From here I invite the reader to ask in his environment what is a rule of three compound, and then draw conclusions.
Many times the popular rejection of mathematics lies in that it is not useful to what is being studied; Above all, in schools, when you focus the study of mathematics toward the approved in an exam, and you are not looking for practical applications to what you are studying. If a young person is being explained, for example, geometry, it is spoken of the importance of the conical curves in the construction of a bridge, or in the design of a car headlight, or in the construction of a homemade microphone, etc., will surely awaken in him a great interest in geometry, and what is more important , he’ll start experimenting.
Mathematical models to solve situations
I have deliberately used the word calculus, because this part of mathematics is of fundamental importance; Thanks to mathematics, thanks to calculus, we can build theoretical models of natural phenomena in terms of equations, which manage to make the behavior of these phenomena quite predictable, and thus act accordingly. Doesn’t it seem spectacular to be able to build a mathematical model, an equation, that allows us to predict the behavior of a tumor so that we can cure the patient? And we could continue to see mathematical models that allow us to predict, for example, the behavior of the size of a population in a particular biotope, or the behavior of a storm.
The evolution of research in the field of mathematics has been parallel to research in the field of other sciences, especially natural sciences and physics; As of the eighteenth century, the objectives of science were reoriented in search of theories that explain the relations between causes and effects. Newton (1642-1727) and Leibniz (1646-1716) established the basis for differential calculus, especially differential equations, thanks to which we can get closer to the knowledge of the laws of nature, to the laws that govern the universe. But long before these two geniuses were, there were already great mathematicians: Pythagoras (580-500 BC), Zeno of Elea (490-430 BC), and a long series of mathematicians. From India and Arabia comes our modern numbering system; The base “60”, with which we measure time, already appears in the second millennium BC, and so we could continue. The human brain has a much higher computing capacity than the most powerful of known computers; And this is because, in the end, the computer always works with a round margin, with a margin of error. The human being is able to intuit a continuous sequence between the numbers, a computer not; Precisely, to solve this situation and try to limit the errors of calculating machines, we have a very interesting branch of mathematics: Discrete Mathematics.
The most wonderful thing about mathematics, as it happens in our lives, is to understand its meaning, to understand its usefulness in everyday life; So we’ll be getting to know ourselves better. By investigating in the laws of nature, trying to understand what surrounds us, we will get closer to the true essence of the numbers; The road is long, but full of new knowledge. I think it is necessary to set aside attitudes too “metaphysical” about mathematics and go down to the field of everyday life. With a clear and simple language we can reach the heart of the human being and reveal that he really loves mathematics.