Can you remember the last arithmetic challenge you did in school? That may be a difficult task for you. But you must have performed arithmetic just a moment ago without visiting a school.
We humans have been unconsciously living a mathematical life that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. In this mathematical life we've been living (and will be living) no one is exempted, and no one can escape it. Where will we run to and as such escape from numbers and arithmetic challenge? Next to our breath is numbers. From minor to major calculations we all do encounter mathematics every day.
Having a calculating machine with you isn't a criterion to live the maths life. We do mental sums nearly every time. You don't have to be a good student of maths for you to welcome the everyday mathematical challenges happily. We solve fundamental mathematical problems even without knowing. But funny enough most people dread to study mathematics as a subject.
Like it or not, everybody is a student of mathematics. Watch this; we monitor our phone battery life in percentages to know what is left; our ages are always calculated by doing the plus and the minus. A carpenter must take measurements and perform cuts and fills to have a good shape for his design, and a mother will have to decide how to share (divide) the meal to accommodate every family member.
Furthermore, a cashier must ensure that the receipts issued out balances with the cash received, a good student will want to know how much time is left before the examination is over, a traffic officer will monitor the number of offense bookings received by a motorist in order to know when the acceptable number is exceeded, etc.
Mathematics lives with us and it is part of our existence. Generally speaking, we have all learned and practiced maths informally. It will continue to remain so. Our everyday arithmetic won't produce mathematicians, but it is mathematics for all. We must not grow lazy at it.
The present-day eulogy given to computers regarding their ability to process mathematical problems and provide answers within seconds has caused us to over depend on them and thereby cheat our brains out of the fun in problem-solving.
Supercomputers do have their place in our world, but we still need our brains to work out the arithmetic of our everyday life. Won't it be fun for you are the one (not a machine) to subtract your cost price, and other expenditures, from the total sales in order to determine your profit for your business?
Give it a try! Grab your pen and paper. Everyday arithmetic has just knocked on your door.
Bt Itoro Orok
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