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Why should girls bother with math?

 
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 09:52 am
@ehBeth,
Really? What equation did you use to compute compound interest?
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 11:45 am
@maxdancona,
The extreme advanced math I agree - but then what high school kid would be taking extreme math other than those going onward to college? There is so many other later math classes I see as choices for my daughter in high school like stats (which is used in every day life) than alegrabra II.

And as I said I often times use alegrabra to figure something out.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  3  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 11:47 am
@ehBeth,
Yeah great example - I used similar when determining whether to pay points for a house or get a lower interest rate. To see where the break even point is.

And it isn't just knowing formula (as you can easily look that up on a computer) but the understanding of what you are doing -- which is typically taught more in high school and more advanced math.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 12:04 pm
@Linkat,
yup - you have to understand the calculations (and their meanings) well enough to be able to understand if you're getting the correct answer

just plugging numbers into online calculators isn't enough

there was recently a radio feature on the CBC about people who'd messed up using currency calculators and the crazy amounts they ended up paying for things

___

I've noticed that younger cashiers are increasingly confused on how to calculate what they owe you if you give them change after they've entered a $ amount into the register. They don't appear to understand basic principles of addition and subtraction. It kind of frightens me to consider what will happen to them when they come up against buying appliances, a car or house.

well, I actually do see what happens with some of my younger colleagues - a couple of years into making car payments they are stunned to discover that they've already paid more than the original cash value of the car - and own about 20/30% of the car (unless they're leasing and own nothing).
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 12:16 pm
@Linkat,
You are the exception rather than the rule, Linkat.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_QoS-CPrsPg/Unt7BJunhVI/AAAAAAAACdE/qvS1N99N5ek/s1600/compound_interest.png

This is the equation behind the math you are talking about (to determine the difference between paying points and getting a lower interest rate). Good for you that you can do this math to solve for 'n' or for 't'. Most people reading this couldn't solve this equation for 'n' or for 't'. Fortunately they don't have to.

The point is that you don't need to understand exponential functions to make this calculation. The calculation has already been done for you, you just plug in the numbers... now with the internet you don't even need that. You just take someone else's understanding and plug in the numbers and ... viola. Someone in the sixth grade can do this too.

I work in engineering, and I am a math geek. When I recently financed a car, I didn't even do the math. I know that fewer months means less money over all. I understand that lower APR means less money over all. I knew the monthly payment over all I could afford. I used a calculator to come up with the monthly payment. I didn't even have to think about exponential functions to make this decision.

I could solve this equation, I work regularly with exponential functions in my jog. But I didn't because I didn't have to.

That is my point. You can live a perfectly fulfilling, successful and productive life without knowing how to solve exponential functions. In fact, most of us forget this stuff soon after we learn it.

The truth is, even for dealing with interest payments, you don't need it.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 12:23 pm
@ehBeth,
People need to know 6th grade math. That get's you addition and subtraction (and decimals and a bunch of other stuff).

I don't know what you mean by algebra... it doesn't mean solving for an unknown quantity (which is done before the sixth grade).

One of the important things you learned in Algebra I is to solve simultaneous linear equations. I would be interested to know the last time you actually set up a system of linear equations.

Again, in my opinion, most people live perfectly decent, fulfilling lives never needing to solve simultaneous linear equations... in fact, I bet that most people reading this would have difficulty doing this (without consulting the internet).

Algebra I than continues with quadratic equations... if you actually have solved a quadratic in your life (since high school) you are in a very small minority.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  4  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 12:24 pm
@maxdancona,
You still need the understanding. If you don't get the understanding - you wouldn't even know this info is available or a tool.

I could be an exception - might possibly be as I have a Masters degree in economics so I like to understand and figure things out. How I am made. I need to calculate it out for myself and not to rely on some formula on the computer - I need to know it is correct.

Any way - you can survive without it -- but you would be much more successful in your every day life if you at least had some sort of understanding. More advanced math helps you to reason things out. Think rather than just use a formula.

I have a very bright friend - has a doctorate degree in biology - when she had to have her taxes done == she went to someone. I yelled at her - you are only filing the basic tax form. You are more than capable of following those instructions and filling it out. It is so easy. I think sometimes people get scared of these things.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 12:33 pm
@Linkat,
Quote:
Any way - you can survive without it -- but you would be much more successful in your every day life if you at least had some sort of understanding.


I don't believe that this is true.

I have been trained in Physics and work as an Engineer and I have a much better understanding of math then most people. This has not made me any more successful or happier than any of my non-mathematical peers (outside of specific uses in my mathematical profession). I can find the roots of a quadratic equation (heck I can find the curl of a quadratic function) and I can even tell you what they mean... so what?

Kolyo
 
  3  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 12:47 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

I've noticed that younger cashiers are increasingly confused on how to calculate what they owe you if you give them change after they've entered a $ amount into the register.


Once when I was living in an area with a 15% sales tax, a guy overcharged me by about 50%.

I added up the items one by one for him, so that he could see he had overcharged me. "The total comes to $5," I said.

"Plus tax," he confidently replied !

He blushed a little when he ran the items through again and found I was right.

----

Dueling with the tough logical proofs (in subjects like high school Geometry) also sharpens your reasoning.

Once I went into a Subway restaurant just as it opened. I ordered a $4 breakfast sandwich, handed him a twenty, and got $6 in change. I told him I had handed him a twenty, and he denied it. He then told me not to bother bullshiting him (not in those words) because they didn't start the day with twenties in the register. But from the premises (which he believed) that (1) there was no twenty in the register to start, and that (2) I had not given him a twenty, it was logical to conclude that there was no twenty in the register. So I told him to look in the register. Fortunately, when he saw my twenty he was logical enough to understand why it was there and mathematical enough to realize he owed me another $10.
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  3  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 01:05 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:

You still need the understanding. If you don't get the understanding - you wouldn't even know this info is available or a tool.


Also, don't forget the feeling of empowerment one gets from being able to do the math oneself,
because even though it won't save you any money, it's important.

A woman who relies on men to do math for her is helpless in the same way as a man who relies on women to read for him.

Alas, my mother's student -- the 15-year-old girl who inspired this thread -- doesn't realize that.

When she came to me for tutoring, she came to me with the second highest test grade in her Algebra II class. But she thought (correctly) that the teacher was doing a poor job teaching her. Not only was it a first-year teacher, but the teacher wasn't even working from a textbook, and the kids didn't have textbooks to learn from on their own.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 02:00 pm
@Kolyo,
Koiyo wrote:
Why should girls bother with math?

For the same reason boys should bother with math: because it's useful and interesting. If they don't find math useful or interesting, they shouldn't bother with it --- and neither should boys.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 02:04 pm
@Kolyo,
Koiyo wrote:
Why should girls bother with math?

So that, when they grow up, they can talk nerdy to men like me --- that is, to men who get turned on by intelligence in a woman.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 02:15 pm
It is not only math that is useless to most adults.

My daughter has to learn the State Capitals. At one time I new these, but in almost 30 years of my adult life never having needing this information, I have forgotten most of them. I also learned drafting (i.e. drawing blueprints with fancy pencils and tools) and I am pretty sure that at some point I could list more than one example of impressionism.

I have lived a perfectly acceptable life without any of this information that was at one time crammed into my skull but was quickly forgotten.

Thomas makes a good point, humans learn and retain the things that are interesting and relevant to them. The rest is discarded.

If we really needed it, then we would remember it.


Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 02:24 pm
@maxdancona,
I would like to challenge you in trivia crack then.....
0 Replies
 
argome321
 
  3  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 04:12 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Thomas makes a good point, humans learn and retain the things that are interesting and relevant to them. The rest is discarded.

If we really needed it, then we would remember it.


I'm pretty sure there are things that I should remember. I just can't remember off hand.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 04:26 pm
@argome321,
I worked for several years with a british rheumatologist as part of our group. He refused to learn phone numbers, wanting to save room in his brain (or so he claimed, likely kidding).
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 04:41 pm
@ossobuco,
What are phone numbers?
roger
 
  2  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 04:43 pm
@maxdancona,
Uh oh. Misplacing your car keys isn't an indication of anything in particular. Not knowing what they are for is a problem.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 04:46 pm
@roger,
Sorry. My phone doesn't have numbers. It has names. Why should I bother with numbers (see what I did there)?

(In most places if you misplace you khaki's, you don't have anything to wear. Here in Boston, when we misplace our khaki's we can't drive our car).
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  3  
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2015 07:20 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

It is not only math that is useless to most adults.

My daughter has to learn the State Capitals.


You should not compare Math with trivia. Even without any geography at all you could find what a state's capital was by Googling. On the other hand someone without any Algebra won't be able to understand how to calculate a derivative just by using Google.

You mention that when we learn Math we don't retain it, but one partially retains it. One often retains enough info on a topic to know how to get the rest of the info. And a concept is much easier to relearn than to learn from scratch.
 

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