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Learning with numbers

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Learning with numbers can be fun. Wondering which alternate universe I’m referring to? Think about it for a second. It’s pretty straightforward, right? Either the right answer or wrong. There is no in-between. It’s not subjective. It is simply a sequence of steps to reach an answer that is already predetermined. 

Plus you get marks for steps in exams. So that’s a bonus. 

Unless you have a more MCQ format for exams. In which case, you can just pick the answer that is closest to your calculations. Still a bonus. 

But getting back to it. Numbers. Are they really as easy as 1, 2, 3? 

The basics of learning with numbers 

Ever got frustrated with your quadratic equation and wondered why you need to learn any of this? Learning math not only gives us a better understanding of science and technology, but it also helps with problem-solving skills and creativity. When it comes to counting and numerical operations, we are again dependent for math success on some foundational cognitive skills, such as sequential processing and selective attention, and on executive functions (the directive capacities of our minds) such as working memory (Source: Click here). 

The cognitive processes associated with numbers include: 

  • Spatial representations (Spatial memory, visualization, directionality) 
  • Counting and operations (Working memory, sequential processing, selective attention) 
  • Logical problem-solving (Planning, working memory, reasoning) 

Research sees a strong correlation between studying math and these abilities. Math requires various brain functions to work together. 

Learning with numbers

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash 

The application of numbers 

Ever ask: okay, but when am I ever going to use this quadratic equation in real life? 

The answer is, surprisingly, yes. Want to check if you can make a box of specific dimensions with the limited material you have? Quadratic equation. Want to know the distance a bombshell will explode at so as to understand the workings of the military? Quadratic equation. These two examples should give you the broad range of applications covered by quadratic equations. 

But it’s not just a quadratic equation. In general, we do use a lot of math in our everyday life. Let’s say you wake up 10 minutes late for your math class. Math helps you figure out which part of your daily routine you have to subtract in order to make it on time. Or you want to half that Pinterest recipe. Still need to deal with numbers. Probability of you winning that lottery game? Yep, you guessed it. Involves numbers. Calculations are such a big part of engineering and science as well. So the technology you use everyday? Yeah, that has quite a bit of math in the background too (Read more on application of math in medicine, right here).

It’s practically a part of us now. 

Learning with numbers

Photo by Antoine Dautry on Unsplash 

The inclusion of math in academic syllabi 

Studying numbers is something that has been encouraged from the primary levels of education. Is it helpful at all, though? Yes. Like we’ve established, numbers have become quite involved in who we are. EVEN that math (or any other course, for that matter) score is in a number form. Studying with numbers helps give direct exposure to ‘learn and apply’ methods. It uses abstract thinking and forces you to try to make sense using logic. 

Studying with numbers in conclusion, does impact cognitive development. 

And most importantly, remember. Don’t argue with 90 degree angles. They tend to be right. (Yes, not all math puns are bad. Just sum) 

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