01 Jun How Can Primary School Maths Be Applied in Real Life?
It is well-known that maths is all around us and is highly useful for real life. Maths is present in almost every aspect of our everyday lives, from counting out change at the supermarket to the computer programs that power our electronic devices.
However, many people do not realise that learning how to apply maths in real life can start as early as primary school. We often assume that primary school maths is simply setting the stage for more advanced learning in the future. While it is true that it imparts fundamental skills that will strengthen students’ foundations, we can also observe these beginner-level concepts in the world around us.
Understanding how primary school maths is used in the real world can help students gain an interest in the subject, as it is the best argument for why maths as a subject is useful.
Foundations for Later Learning
The most obvious and tangible benefit of primary school maths in our lives is that it strengthens students’ skills and creates foundations for learning higher-level concepts in secondary school and beyond. Mastering primary school maths is extremely important in ensuring that students will be able to excel not just in upper-level maths, but in subjects that employ maths as well.
For example, secondary school students taking chemistry will often be asked to perform calculations to derive certain quantities, requiring them to draw on their previous maths skills. In physics, the density of an object or substance is understood as its mass divided by its volume, both concepts that are taught in primary school maths. These are only some examples of how maths skills are essential for other subjects.
Hence, primary school maths is highly applicable in a variety of school subjects, and understanding it is crucial to meeting your future educational goals. If students develop a passion for maths at an early age, this can also set them up for a future career in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Applying Topics and Skills to Real Life
Although students will only be exposed to a certain set of basic topics at the primary school level, many of these can be directly applied to everyday life. In fact, being able to use their maths skills in a variety of situations outside the classroom is a sign that a student has in fact mastered that particular topic. Understanding why it is useful can also increase their interest in the subject as a whole.
Some of these topics include:
Rate and speed
By Primary 6, students will have been taught the triangular relationship between the three quantities of distance, time and speed. This has several obvious real-world applications, such as measuring the speed of moving vehicles. For example, students can use what they have learned about the relationship between distance and speed to calculate how long it will take them to travel from their home to their school.
Percentage is a topic that many students find tricky, but it is used in almost every situation involving money and payments. Students can try to calculate the Goods and Services Tax (GST) levied on a particular product, and check the receipt to see whether they derived the correct answer. They can also learn to calculate the interest per annum they accrue on their own savings accounts. This can help them better manage their money and understand how finances work in the real world.
Area and volume
A fun way to introduce students to the concepts of area and volume used in real life is through food. Parents can ask their child to help measure out exact volumes for baking and cooking, and teach them how to read quantities from a recipe. Area can also help you determine the amount of food available; for example, deriving the area of a pie, pizza or cake.
Learning to tell time is an essential skill that every student must learn in order to function in society. Although analogue clocks are becoming increasingly rare, knowing how to read them is still important in situations where digital clocks are not available. Students can also practise calculating how much time has passed between two points—this will also help you determine whether you’ve been sitting in the waiting room too long!
Big data is a fast-growing industry, and understanding how statistics work is key to ensuring that students grow up to be informed citizens. Primary 6 students can learn how to interpret pie charts by reading news and infographics, and drawing links between the visual representation of the data and the text representation (usually in percentages). Other representations of statistical data, such as tables and graphs, can also be found everywhere in the real world.
How to Master Primary School Maths Through Real-World Practice
Real-world situations can provide a good training ground for students to hone their skills in maths. Here are some strategies for students to improve their skills through real-life applications.
Apply maths in everyday situations
As we have learned, maths is all around us, and students can make use of these everyday situations to put their skills to the test. Whether it’s counting their pocket money or calculating their travel time from home to school, real life is filled with examples of how primary school maths can be applied.
Make use of teachable moments
Parents’ role in ensuring their children understand and enjoy maths should not be overlooked. To help your child understand how maths is used in real life, pick out specific situations that make use of their skills and work through the problem with them. For example, you can get out their bank book and some pen and paper, and ask them to figure out how much interest their savings will accrue by the end of the year. This will help your child see that they have a personal stake in learning maths, and that maths is all around us even when we do not realise it.
Even primary school maths can be extremely useful for students who are just starting to understand how the world works. However, if your child is still struggling to make the jump from problem sums in school to real-world applications, our Primary 6 maths tuition teachers will be able to help them draw the necessary connections.
Einstein’s primary level tuition Singapore classes are taught by experienced teachers and specially designed to help your child maximise their potential. To find out more about our programme, get in touch with us today!