Archive for September, 2014

Exciting Facts About Math

Technology Online - Behance.netA lot of seems to consider mathematics to be boring and hard, but it’s actually quite fun when you get the hang of it. It sometimes requires a little more time to learn than many of the other topics you normally in school, but it’s also so much more rewarding once you get the hang of it. The famous mathematician Susanne Schjerning once compared mathematics to a tree. Susanne Schjerning said – Without the diverging branches mathematics has no life or beauty. To race students up the middle is to alienate them from its very nature. The ladder approach cuts off both the life and beauty of mathematics.

Do you ever wonder how mathematics manage to become important for us? Some people may wonder why mathematics are important. However, they just think that mathematics is never applicable to any lifestyle we would be living. Did you know that without mathematics, we would not know how old we are? Yes, you heard it right. Would you find that interesting? Did you remember that kids are asked on how old are they? Yet, some of them answered and some of them don’t know. This doesn’t mean that they are already aware on their birthdays but because they are informed by their parents. So, this basically proves that mathematics is really applicable. How can we buy any item if we don’t know how much it cost? How can we have a budget if we are not aware about numbers? Math is truly existing and yet beneficial in man’s life. We need to count the years on how long we are living on this planet. No matter what, math will always be attached to our lives. You would not understand why mathematics is being taught at school. Mathematics subject is already present even on our kindergarten days. This is the first stage that we are seriously taught by our teachers about math in fun ways.

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The exciting facts about mathematics is its being fun. You are learning and at the same time enjoying. There is also a perception that students fear about mathematics. But why do students fear about math. This is the most common question that needs to be answered. Once this is answered, you could easily make ways on how to let them understand about it. There are various causes of math fear. Mathematics is abstract. It doesn’t have any shape. Children would not see it. They have to visualize correctly solving mathematical problems. Visualization would come from the day to day experience and to relate mathematics with it that requires very strong trainer. The present teaching system is another fear by students. The lack of innovation in conventional system of teaching is another huge contributor to the difficulty of mathematics. Mathematics becomes a boring and dud subject makes conventional system of teaching. Students are unable to envision the idea taught by the teacher. Therefore, the interest level goes down. Henceforth they begin developing a disassociation with the subject. Child would start hating mathematics if this disassociation with the subject. The central board had recognized because this phenomenon of Math fear is escalating day to day.

Another problem is converting word problems onto mathematical equations. Good understandings of math fundamentals and of the language are both required when converting word problems onto mathematical equation. Fundamentals are still taught in old-fashioned way into the school. Teachers would teach fundamentals without much of illustration. Therefore, students are unable to visualize the problem when they encounter it. They tried to learn mathematics much like some other subjects where they could memorize figures and facts. Mathematics wants a good and thorough understanding. There is also poor command over tables. Teachers would interact with thousands of children each month. Yet, teachers find out that good number of students showed poor command over the tables. A few of these students gone to the higher classes and they still rely on finger counting. Here would be the question, why do students have poor command over the tables? Students have poor command over the tables because tables are not taught in mother tongue. This makes mathematics difficult for students. There is also no system of logic development. In fact, our education system worked on rote methodology. Another problem is poor trainers. Most of the time, people who are teaching mathematics don’t enjoy mathematics themselves. Once a math teacher doesn’t enjoy teaching mathematics, then how can he or she creates enjoyment for students? This is a big problem which needed to be look for answer by teachers.

Calculation time is another big problem by students. Large numbers of students hated calculation. They fear regarding calculation is often based on they think it’s a waste of time. Another thing, once you get mistakes on your calculation, the whole theory would be ruined. So, students hated math very much. For them, they are not challenged aside from those who are not interested on mathematics. Sad to say, there are only a few who like and love math. Mathematics should be fun and exciting. Students should consider math as exciting and fun. But most students considered math as a nightmare. Once they are given a problem solving challenge, they would easily give up. So, this must be an alarm for teachers. The department of education must understand and take a look at this issue. Math can be fun and interesting if you give chance to know and understand about it. Mathematics will always be challenging.

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Can Maths Help us Survive Climate Change?

Mostly we hear the role of maths in predicting the damage that climate change is causing.  But some researchers are looking how mathematical models can be used to help identify genetic patterns that could help make our crops more resilient to the effects of climate change.

There’s no doubt that it’s something we have to face, drought, pest and disease could hit harvests all across the world and cause serious food shortage.  Already we are seeing that the traditional crops of areas like the mid-west in America are perhaps not going to be optimal if the climate changes to any extent.  Worse still many areas of the world will likely be incapable of supporting any crops at all particularly in some areas that barely support subsistence farming.

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The scientists are hoping that these models will help identify crops which can survive the higher temperatures and those which are drought resistance.   These areas in most risk are dubbed ‘dry area’ and account for 40% of the world’s land cover and worryingly are home to over 2.5 billion people.

This is the challenge that a group of leading mathematicians and crop scientists have just met in North Africa to discuss.  Their goal to see how applied mathematics models can be used to primarily speed up the search through various gene banks for traits which can produce climate change resistant species.

A dry area is somewhere where there is persistent water scarcity, frequent droughts and serious degradation of the land.   All these make farming difficult and climate change will make even more challenging.  It doesn’t look like we will be able to stop climate change in the short term, so there is an urgent need to use maths to help us adapt to the challenges that are to come.

Mathematical models are often used to search through huge databases in order to locate patterns and links.  Despite the growth of computing power, it is essential these models are accurate and efficient.  The previous methods relied on manual trial and error, cross breeding different species and analyzing and testing the resultant crops.  One of the models already in use is known as the Focused Identification of Germplasm Strategy (FiGS), which has already identified some pest resistant crops including something that may be resistant to the Russian Wheat Aphid which causes huge crop losses.

There are some broadcasts on international TV channels and scientific research available online regarding both the talks in Morocco and the ongoing research.  For some individuals you may have to change your IP or switch DNS in order to access some sites which are restricted to specific locations.

John Hetherington

Science and Technology

 

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