Wikipedia states: Mathematics is the study of quantity, structure, space, and change.
A Maths Dictionary for Kids says: Mathematics is the study of numbers, quantities, shapes and space, using mathematical processes, rules and symbols.
I guess I put it a bit differently.
Excel Math Blog #2 said, Math is a language of counting, measurement, shapes and calculation. A language with precise definitions and specialized terms.
I think Math involves first learning, then using a variety of skills and procedures for thinking about and manipulating numbers and shapes.
Math is composed of a wide range of things that are lumped together in school for convenience (or because Reading, History or PE teachers won't teach them)!
In Excel Math these math areas include (arranged roughly in order from first-taught to last-taught):
- Place Value and Counting
- Number sequences, missing numbers and ordering numbers
- Number lines
- Mathematical symbols
- Number patterns
- Fractional parts of a set
- Converting and simplifying
- Units of currency
- Prices and unit pricing
- Making change
- Two-dimensional space and geometric figures
- Three-dimensional space and figures
- Flips, Slides, Turns, Scaling
- Area, volume, perimeter, surface area
- Angles and degrees
- Calculating pi
- Word problems
- Giving directions
- Map reading
- Units and tools of measure
- Conversions and equivalents
- positive and negative numbers
- square roots
- factors and permutations
- Venn diagrams
That's what kids are doing throughout grades K-6, BEFORE they get Algebra, Trigonometry, etc.- learning CONCEPTS, TECHNIQUES, WAYS of THINKING, ACTIVITIES.
For most of us, math is not a life-long process of "proofs" about conceptual possibilities that might be true or false.
Instead, MATH is skills we use every day. Most do not involve intensive calculation, so fingers, calculators and spreadsheets are useful at times but insignificant in the larger picture.
Math requires precise thinking and a healthy skepticism about the numbers thrown at us by advertisers, government, bankers and friends. It's the ability to find our own answers to questions. Like,
Why is my budget off? Is is the numbers, is it the spreadsheet, or is my analysis faulty?
Excel Math assumes that people will need to learn to think mathematically, perform calculations (using any tools at hand) and trust their own judgement. These skills are a necessary math foundation for any self-confident citizen.
I search for interesting topics and do math on them in this blog - to entertain myself as well as do useful things like figure out a utility bill, calculate fuel economy, etc.
Thanks for coming along for the ride.