February 2012

How Are You Celebrating Mathematics Awareness Month?

It's still about a month away, but now is the time to start planning events and activities around National Mathematics Awareness Month. April is the official month were schools, groups and universities across the national bring the discipline into focus.

It was originally started in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan and included a collaboration between such groups as American Mathematical Society, American Statistical Association, Mathematical Association of America and Society of Industrial Applied Mathematics.

Wow, can you imagine the wild and crazy parties these guys would throw. I bet the month comes to a crescendo with a rousing chess tournament followed by all-you-can-eat bran muffins. The goal is to support and bring notice to the field of mathematics and how it is used in society. It's not just for the high level math learned by professional, but the everyday math that people use to balance their checkbooks.

Math and My Children

My oldest son is only in kindergarten, but I already teaching him the basics of math. He can do adding and subtracting in his head and every time I teach him a new trick whether its easy ways to remember how to count over 100 of that pesky thing called Algebra, I am incredibly proud of him.

 

When I was a kid, math was always difficult for me. I didn't have a natural ability and neither of my parents knew much more about math beyond multiplication and division. I was pretty much on my own to learn geometry, trigonometry and algebra.

Math and NCLB

States across the nation are trying to avoid losing out on No Child Left Behind by applying for waivers from the federal government. NCLB requires that schools have a certain percentage of the students meeting or exceeding certain levels.

 

The brain child of the Bush era, NCLB increased percentages of students needing to meet certain criteria each year. In 2014, the requirement would have required 100 percent of children to meet or exceed standards. Recently, hundreds of schools were unable to meet the unrealistic standards in reading and math.

 

This forced many to spend money on useless studies and even pay for students to go to other schools if the parents requested. In a desperate attempt at trying not to fall behind even further, states have begun asking for a waiver from the Obama administration. So far, 10 states received the waiver with 28 more waiting in the wings.

World In Need Of Mathematicians

It's not secret that math is a difficult subject for most people, but there is an increasingly short list of people who can specialize in advanced mathematics and its creating a shortage in the job market. There are needs in the world for people to can do incredibly difficult math in almost all aspects of employment from science, computers and economy.

 

Math is a universal language that can be used to predict the outcome of events based on extrapolating from a set of variables. While there are computer programs designed to help with this, it takes humans with the ability to understand the problem to create and adapt these varying programs.