Math: Friend or Foe?

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Madison Castello, Staff Writer

Scientific America states that 4 out of 10 people say they hate math. Why is this? Is it because of math’s new standards or has it always been this difficult? Is Common Core making things more difficult? I, personally, enjoy math when I understand how to solve a difficult problem or equation. I interviewed some students at our school and their opinions were mixed. Most said they liked math depending on what they wanted their career to be. Math could be very valuable for an engineer but maybe less so for a photographer. Others explained that they loved the subject as long as they understood it. When you don’t grasp the concept, it will be less enjoyable. Another reason math may seem difficult is because everything is linked together. If you don’t understand one concept, it may be hard to understand the next.

I also interviewed Ms. Rubi-Smith, an excellent math teacher at our school. She said that she has enjoyed math ever since she was a child. It was simple for her then and now. She loved math because she has always understood the subject and it was never one of her more difficult classes. Math may come easily to some but it can be difficult for others. Kids are often scared or intimidated by it because the numbers and equations seem so large. My class has recently begun working with the quadratic formula, which is shown as this article’s picture.  At first, the problem seems large and daunting but it is really just plugging everything in. Now that I understand the equation, it all makes more sense.

Common Core has also changed some of the old standards. The main goal is to ensure that all students have the opportunity of going to college. Common Core has also challenges students with real world problems. Classes used to have worksheets of problems that needed to be completed but now students must read a word problem and explain how they got their answer. This can sometimes be difficult but it shows that we will use this knowledge outside of math class.

Whether it’s Common Core or the new standards that make math confusing may be a mystery, but I think we can all agree that everything is better when you understand it. Equations may seem large and difficult but they makes perfect sense when you fully grasp the concept. The 40% of people who dislike math probably don’t like it because they don’t understand it. Math becomes easier and fun even, when you master a once difficult concept or solve a seemingly large problem.

How do you feel about math?

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