5 Unintimidating Examples of Real World Math

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For some, the idea of “math” conjures up feelings of fear, dread, and confusion. But, despite how you feel about algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, differential equations, and the myriad of mathematical topics you may have been subjected to in school, math is all around us.

It may not have been your favorite subject but math is something we use every day, especially in the astronaut lifestyle. Here are a few mathematical concepts that you can embrace (not fear!) and examples of ways they appear in our daily lives.

Patterns

Logic, number, and word patterns are all around us! Logic patterns help us classify similar objects, while number patterns help us predict a sequence. Word patterns help children make sense of language and serve as a strategy for spelling. Repeating patterns can be found in nature and everyday life.

Patterns are present in architecture, clothing, multiplication tables, and even on the bottom of your shoes! 

Measurement

Measurement includes weight, area, volume, length, and temperature. Knowing how to use standard units of measure are helpful when figuring out how many gallons of paint are needed to paint a room, the amount of lumber needed to build a fence around your property, and determining the distance you can travel on a single tank of gas.

Money

Estimating the cost of items while shopping at the grocery store, balancing a checkbook, planning to save in order to make a large purchase, and determining a monthly budget are financial management examples of how math is used in real life. Fundamental skills of addition and subtraction are needed to manage money in a checking account while an understanding of compounded interest is enough to make you want to try to pay off your credit card bills in full each month.

Fractions

Fractions are numerical quantities of a whole number divided into equal parts. We may not consciously think about fractions when slicing a pizza or measuring ingredients for a recipe, but these actions involve knowing about parts of a whole.

Percentages

A knowledge of percentages is especially useful when shopping sales. Being able to calculate the price on an item that is 10%, 20%, or a whopping 50% off allows you to know how much you will be charged for the item at the register. Once you calculate the sale price of the item, figure in tax which is always a percentage of your total purchase.

As you can see, math isn’t inherently frightening! These few examples demonstrate that you are already winning at life using your existing math skills!