Mathematics is an academic field that involves the use of numbers or their quantification to perform operations theoretically or practically.
When the principles of a topic in maths are fully understood, further research can be done on how they can be improved, or applied in real life situations.
It is not strange that some students find maths difficult and irrelevant. Maths, unlike other academic fields can’t be comprehended at a glance.
Initially, most topics aren’t connected, and it might take, probably until university education, for some connections to be established, by which time, students revisit college work for clarification.
Also, we find that these students who revisit college work, are better suited to understand, as their mental capacity has improved more than how it was when they were in college.
What really makes maths difficult?
English, for instance is a widely spoken language. Initially, you learn the 26 letters of the alphabet, A – Z (just 26), and then you develop in the art of combining them to form words. But for maths, you learn more than 26 numbers. In fact, you learn how to go on indefinitely. There is no limit to which numbers you can actually reach.
Here, the problem sets in. The infiniteness of numbers become a cause for doubting the rationality of mathematics. i.e As numbers have no limit, where are we going to stop if we keep going on?
Back then, in early school, our teachers would, make us count from 1 to 50. As our understanding improves, probably with class, they would extend to 100, then 500, eventually 1000. Most could go on up to 10,000.
Teaching kids to count to large numbers such as 10,000 definitely has a role to play in their perception of mathematics. In fact, most kids that were so taught, would tend to develop quickly in mathematics as opposed to those that were pampered.
Mathematics is Vast!
If you actually know how large the universe is, then you would know that we, as humans, have problems to solve for the advancement of maths. We have managed to uncover significant aspects regarding maths on earth, but how of outer space?
Read also: 8 Facts About Space You Should Know
There is no denying it, sooner or later, earth will be filled up. As world population increases, land, water, and natural resources are heavily tapped into. For this reason, mathematics, as a science, might just be the only way out.
But Why Maths?
If you have ever trekked to far distances, then you would know just how maths is necessary for survival.
Any Technology you use is deeply rooted in mathematical equations. Without equations, it would be impossible to create technology.
For instance, the cars we use, is made from the following equations;
- Equations of Motion ( Newton laws of motion)
- Thermodynamics Equations
- Chemical equations
- Kinematic Equations and so on…
Maths demands mental effort. If you really want to know mathematics, then you must be prepared to sit down, reason, think hard, and visualize without minding your personal interests, gain, or commitments.
Mathematics isn’t like other subjects, where you read, comprehend, and understand. You might understand some theories, but would definitely head no where, if you can’t apply them to solve problems.
Understand Mathematics in a Month
Time needed: 30 days.
So I have holistically prepared a routine under which mathematics should at best be acquainted in roughly a month.
Note that this routine is paced at a month, you might take less or more depending on your learning curve.
- Treat Mathematics as you would a Language
You can communicate by expressing certain situations as mathematical expressions.
i. You are about to buy 3 dozens of eggs , at ₦500 each, three tins of milk, at ₦200 each, and a pack of sugar for ₦150. How much will you take to market?
To start with, assign a variable (letter) for each item.
1 egg = a
1 tin of milk = b
1 pack of sugar = c
A dozen of eggs is equivalent to 12 eggs. So if 1 egg is “a”, then 12 eggs (12 × 1 egg) is “12 × a”. which means 1 egg in 12 places, a in 12 places. But as we need 3 dozens, and we know that 12 eggs make a dozen or 12 × a, we relate
1 dozen = 12 eggs = 12 × a (1 dozen is 12 eggs and is also 12 × a)
3 × 1 dozen = 3 × 12 eggs = 3 × 12 × a (whatever is done to a side affects the other. Think of it, as a scale, we need to balance both sides to have equality.)
3 dozens = 36 eggs = “36 × a” ———– 1
Next, a tin of milk is just for the price of ₦200. So, 3 tins, 3 × 1 tin
1 tin in 3 places, b in 3 places is “3 × b” ———– 2
Then a pack of sugar, just one is ₦150.
1 × 1 pack, “1 × c” ———– 3
In mathematics, the product of a variable and a number is their combination. e.g 2 × a is 2a.
1 + 2 + 3
36 × a + 3 × b + 1 × c
36a + 3b + 1c —– Mathematical expression for the purchase
where a, b, and c represent each item
Therefore, the total amount = ₦((36 × 500) + (3 × 200) + (1 × 150)) = ₦(18,000 + 600 + 150) = ₦ 18,750
- Get Books
You need books to study and acquaint yourself with several maths topics. Start with simple and fundamental books. Usually that of O-level.
Studying A-level maths, without knowing the fundamentals would put necessary strain on your brain, and you might end up losing interest.
If you need to start from scratch, Get this free E-book – Basic Math & Pre-Algebra For Dummies
- Get a pen, and dedicate a notebook
For every text-book or ebook you use, have a notebook, which would enable you work with the examples and practice exercises.
Ensure the topics are well structured and the examples with exercise are clear and legible. This is so that you can easily reference as you progress as well as revise.
- Join a Community
You might need to share unclear exercises or mingle with your kind to find out how they fare. This would help build your environment around mathematics.
When you are ready, join here – https://web.facebook.com/groups/fmata/
Nothing hones you better than practice. Doing things systematically can make them grow into you.
Most of what you are good at, you attain by repeated performance. Channel your time to maths so as to develop steadily.
And so, with this, and Godspeed, I in good faith expect you to surmount the hurdles of mathematics.