Practical Math and Logic Problems in Everyday Life
A certain level of mathematical skill is necessary to make it in the modern world. It is no secret that many aspects of our life involve decision-making based on math and simple logic. From budgeting your allowance as a kid to choosing an insurance plan as an adult, being handy with numbers will save you a lot of trouble and allow for financial independence.
With cultivating these skills in mind, we have gathered resources designed to help people learn and develop numeracy skills starting from childhood through adulthood. Parents, teachers, and adult learners should find these tools useful in teaching the use of math and logic in everyday life.
Beginner - Kids
It is never too early to teach your kids about math and how it is used in the real world. It would be greatly beneficial for their learning to realize early on that math is not just a subject that they need to pass in school or take tests for.
One effective way of imparting the practical uses of math and logic is to teach children about money. There is a many great courses online designed to do just this and many of them are free. We highly recommend that you check out Hands on Banking’s finance course for kids. It will give them the opportunity to learn about both concepts and real-world roles of money. They can also learn about banks, money from employment (or chores), basic budgeting, and saving money.
Another useful site to visit is the The Stock Market Game. Recommended for older elementary kids, this site is dedicated to teaching students about investing and the stock market through a simulation game in which they can ‘invest’ in stocks and analyze market activity. Young users are required to register with an adult (parent, guardian, or teacher) before being able to participate in the game.
- NRich: Problem solving
- APlusClick: Math and logic problems to develop logical reasoning and problem-solving skills
- The Stock Market Game: Welcome students
- Hands on Banking: Kids
- NASA: Practical uses of math and science
Advanced - Teens and Young Adults
When your kids or students enter their teen years and young adulthood, it is safe to assume that they already know the basics of real world math applications. Now, it is time to take their knowledge to the next level by introducing more complex topics or expanding their understanding of the ones introduced to them earlier on.
Many teens would get their driving license at 16 or 17 and may have to manage the cost of a car or other transportation. It is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the financial costs and math skills required to owning a vehicle. The Save and Invest site has a good handout detailing how teens can use formulas to calculate things like monthly car payments and other expenses. There is a link to the site at the end of this section.
We have also included a link to the Finance in the Classroom site where you can find plenty of financial tools and calculators which help teens understand the effects of inflation on an individual’s standard of living, taking out loans, and what it takes to pay off debt.
More importantly, the site has resources detailing how to financially manage their way through college when it comes to topics such as applying for student loans or budgeting for living expenses.
For high school seniors who are still undecided about what major they want to pursue in college, you might want to check out Thirteen’s page about math (more specifically algebra) and how it is used in various industries from fashion and video game making to entrepreneurship. Learning more about its real-world applications might just give students a new perspective about an otherwise often hated school subject.
- Common Sense Media: 10 best math tools for high school students
- Save and Invest: Money math for teens: The true cost of owning a car
- Thirteen: Get the math: Algebra in the real world
- Finance in the Classroom: Online financial tools
- Learner: Math in daily life: How do numbers affect everyday decisions?
Once we graduate from school and enter the so-called ‘real world’ the consequences of our everyday decisions become more important and permanent. As they say, adulthood has no do-overs. It is vital that we think our all our decisions through before we make them and enter into contracts or deals - for something as seemingly simple as picking your first apartment or as big as planning for your eventual retirement.
If you are working on a career, most of your financial decisions will be centered around work. We have gathered up sources that will help you out with developing problem solving and critical thinking skills needed to be able to make the best decisions given a particular circumstance.
Below, you will find a link to a workplace guide from the US Department of Labor detailing how you can use the math and logic skills you learned in school in order to advance in your chosen career. Here you will learn things like managing your time for work and your personal life and proper workplace ethics. You will be provided with resources that will develop your problem-solving skills through the use of logic and applied basic math.
We have also linked you to resources that explain the simple math that you need to know to understand insurance policies. Do not forget to check out the University of California-Santa Cruz’s helpful guide on math concepts for navigating the insurance industry. It is worth taking the time to learn how to calculate for risk, profit margins, and claims. Knowing these things will help to ensure that you will not be tricked into signing up for unfair policies that might cost you your savings or retirement funds.