How Important is Math in the 21st Century?

How Important is Math in the 21st Century?

How Important is Math in the 21st Century?

Today, many of the fastest-growing and best-paying jobs in the world are STEM-related fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Careers in banking and finance, information technology, healthcare and construction are among STEM jobs with exponential growth. Even in non-STEM fields like manufacturing, sales and recruitment now require strong math skills and digital proficiency.

Take a modern mobile phone for instance: no doubt the principles behind making it come from a myriad knowledge of physics, chemistry, metallurgy, electronics, and more. But the design and functions of the phone could only come into being with the help of mathematical knowledge. The internal functions of the phone, the logic behind making it and other common features very often depend on algorithm and mathematical logic. In the creation of a beloved product, like the mobile phone, mathematics played a vital role. The same can be said of the role played by mathematics in the evolution of new and modern products in almost all fields, be it engineering, defence, or healthcare.

How Math Opens Doors in Lucrative Industries

STEM education is key to the success of the economy. With math being the key subject to excel in STEM, it is a lucrative subject. That being said, many students underestimate themselves when they decide they are not 'good' at STEM subjects. They close the door to immense opportunities within the field. Math may be a tough subject, but it encourages creative thinking.

One of the greatest opportunities lies in reaching students early and inspiring them to build critical and science skills along with confidence and passion for these subjects. So, what next?

The Ministry of Education in Singapore has been revamping the educational system to foster critical and creative thinking in their students. Removal of mid-year and year-end examinations are one of the steps taken to give more time to discover the joy of learning.

How Math Encourages Creative and Critical Thinking Skills

Self-Directed Learning

What would happen if we allowed students to discover things for themselves and direct their own learning? Research shows it changes the way students think about maths. They become genuinely engaged and understand the place of maths in the modern world. Through exploration, it sparks their curiosity especially in finding out questions to their own answers.

Develop Reasoning Skills

Math helps to develop reason skills by encouraging students to generate as many examples as possible. Teachers can encourage students to analyse them and notice the patterns. This allows the students to connect their understanding and knowledge - putting it all together and figuring bigger things out through reasoning. By figuring out a math problem on their own, it engages students in the topic. The magic happens when students experience the joy of discovery.

Foster Collaboration and Communication through "Show me"

"Show me" is one of the challenging prompts that you can use to promote learning among themselves - students think out loud, hear them justifying, thinking about other reasons why things "won't work or do work.." By showing their math workings, it helps them to defend their answers and also learn new ways of solving a math question. Through math, students learn to explain their answer and learn from one another.

Creative and Critical Thinking

Creative thinking occurs when students generalise - noticing the relationships between common properties - and then create rules or conjectures that need to be tested. As students test these ideas, they need to think critically and convince others. Students start to justify, explaining why or why not and prove or disprove their ideas.

This translates into the real world as they navigate problems that require creativity and critical thinking skills to resolve them. Students are thinking creatively when they interpret the problem and make choices about how to solve the problem. They think critically when justifying their interpretation of the problem and evaluating their solution.

We've explored how math is important in the 21st Century for the types of industries it supports, how it will always be in demand due to the inventions that rely on it, and the soft skills that people develop from learning the subject. It may be challenging but taught in a way that engages students, it can ignite their passion for it.

How TCA can help?

Boosting your child's confidence in math is better with an experienced math tutor. At Terry Chew Academy, we are proud to be one of Singapore's best tuition providers, offering programs from Primary 4 through Secondary 4. Our knowledgeable mathematics tutors are updated on the latest syllabus and will be able to boost your child's confidence in mathematics. From math enrichment courses to Math Olympiad training, come meet the team at Terry Chew Academy to find out how we can help. Talk to us today to learn more!

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