Mathematics

Common Math Misconceptions



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During high school, I bought into many misconceptions about math. As a result, I found it difficult to understand so much so that I really thought anything above common math was something I just could not do and did not really need.

Later when I tested for Business College, I found that my math scores were through the roof and some how math was my strong point. During the test, I applied common sense to the questions and it worked. Because of this, I realized that I enjoy math therefore, I would like to take a moment to banish some of the common math misconceptions that tend to hold people back from discovering and developing their hidden math skills. While I understand that math may not be everyone's strength it does not have to be a weakness.

Common misconceptions and truths

* Math is hard and you have to be super smart or gifted with numbers in order to understand it.

Truth: Math is not hard many times people make math hard by looking at the problem or equation before them and panicking. If you look at math from a logical standpoint instead of trying to figure it out you will see that logically everything will fall into place. I am not a math teacher however, there is one thing I wish all math teachers would focus more on and that is teaching students to view math logically. While it is very important to know how to work, a problem out it is also equally important for students to learn to look at the problem from a logical standpoint also.

* Math doesn't make sense.

Truth: Math makes perfect sense and if you look at math from a logical standpoint along with problem solving techniques you will find it is much easier. Common sense goes a long way when dealing with math problems.

* I won't need math when I graduate so it's no big deal!

Truth: You will need and use math everyday of your life for the rest of your life. Depending on what you do professionally will determine what form of math you use on a regular basis but rest assured everyone on Gods green earth will use some form of math in their everyday life.

* Math is not important for my future.

Truth: Math is very important for each of our futures.

A few important truths about math.

Without math, you cannot check your pay stub to make sure your employer is paying you correctly, pulling out the correct amount for deductibles or that you aren't paying in to much for insurance or anything else. Without math, you will not be able to budget your income and expenses for the week or the month. Without math, you will have no chance of making wise investment or savings choices.

Math is important for our future and it is an important aspect in most jobs. Warehouse workers many times have to take and pass a math test before being hired for job positions. Mechanics use math everyday whether they are pricing parts and adjusting bills or figuring out exact calculations in order to do a job correctly. Construction workers use math to make calculations before beginning and during construction. I have not worked in or heard of a job yet that didn't involve math at some point. Most often, we use basic math skills without even thinking about it. How sad it would be if we didn't have those basic skills.

Math skills are very important when planning for our financial future and during our everyday life. Without math, you wouldn't be able to balance your checkbook or many other everyday tasks that are normally taken for granted.

Misconceptions that make math seem confusing to children.

* The larger number always represents a larger amount.

When dealing with fractions many times people will automatically think the fraction with the bigger number will represent the bigger portion and this simply is not the case. Take for example: 1/4 of a pie vs. 1/8 of a pie. Without seeing the actual pie, some may assume that 1/8 is bigger just because it involves a bigger number when in essence 1/4 of a pie will be much more pie than 1/8 of a pie. Simply because when you take a whole pie and cut it into pieces, you will have larger pieces if you cut it into four pieces than you will have if you cut it into eight pieces.

* A number that has more digits will always be bigger than a number with fewer digits

This is true when dealing with whole numbers, however if you are dealing with decimals this is not always the case just as the fraction with the larger number does not always represent the larger piece of pie the decimal with the most digits does is not always bigger or more than a number that has less digits. Take for example: (4.56 vs. 5.4) the first number may have more digits but it is actually the smaller of the two.

Resource:
http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/teachers/issue42/primary/features/Mathsmisconceptions/

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