TED Conversations

David Semitekol

This conversation is closed.

Where do you use math in your profession?

One of the most difficult challenges that math teachers face today is motivating their students. This becomes more difficult when faced with the all famous question: "What am I going to use this for?"

Help me with some real world examples of modern day math. Please let me know your profession and what type of math you use to share with our students.


Thank you everyone so much for the contributions! They are great and I wasn't expecting such a turn out. My goal is to gain enough examples and to use them at the start of each lecture. I'm hoping that these examples in the beginning of class will spark the student's interest for the reaming of the lecture and to show that that we really do use math.

There is a difference between having to learn something and wanting to learn something. When we have to learn it we just try to get through it. When we want to learn it, this is when we make breakthroughs. Stimulate the interest in students so that they want to learn math and we increase our probability in someone discovering the next breakthrough.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Feb 27 2012: I think a very important message to get across to your students is the use of math/numbers as a proof of an idea. Most of the time, people argue with emotion, which really has no ground, but once numbers get involved, an opinion can hold its own. My degree is in structural engineering and my profession is construction management. Recently, I have been working with a number of initiatives within our organization to optimize work, both in an effort to save money and create a healthier environment for the workers. My utilizing numbers/statistics, I can identify what habits lead to safer environments. More importantly, by manipulating (not in a bad way) the information I have at hand, I can determine how small a change (investment) can be made to deliver the greatest result.

    To sum things up, using math as a proving ground for arguments will open up a whole new method of discussion. Expose your students to this and I am sure it will peak their interest in the mathematics.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.