Practical Math and Logic Problems in Everyday Life
From calculating the cheapest insurance rates to determining the square footage of a flooring project, practical math and logic skills are important in everyday life
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UPDATED: Jun 23, 2022
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- Everyday life is filled with math problems, and many careers rely heavily on math for success
- Practical math skills can be learned and applied at any age
- There are countless resources online to help adults and children learn to use math every day
Many kids think of math as an unnecessary skill. One of the most common questions you’ll hear from a child is “When will I ever use this?”
While not everyone will use calculus in their daily lives, there are many practical problems in mathematics. Sometimes we solve these problems without even thinking about it, such as when deciding whether to pay for your car insurance in full or monthly.
Here, we will look at some practical math problems for both kids and adults. We’ll also consider some everyday situations that call for simple math skills.
Practical Math Problems for Kids
While kids aren’t saddled with any financial burdens, it’s still useful for them to learn some financial skills at a young age. If they gain an appreciation and understanding of handling money, it can set them up for future success.
Saving Allowance for a Reward
A straightforward sample math problem for a kid is to figure out how long they need to save an allowance to purchase an item they want. For example, if your child wants an Xbox Series S, they’ll need to save around $299.99 plus tax.
The sales tax can be an excellent first practical math problem here. Many kids see the price tag on an item and don’t consider the tax. Sales tax is different in each state, but the average is right around 5%. We’ll use this value. Multiplying the price of the Xbox by 105% to account for the 5% sales tax, we get $314.99 for a total price.
Now if a child receives $20 per week as an allowance, we can calculate how many weeks it will be until they have enough to buy their Xbox. We just divide $314.99 by $20. The result comes to 15.74. This means it will take 16 weeks to save up for that coveted Xbox.
Online Practical Math and Logic Resources for Kids
Aside from our basic sample math problem, there are plenty of resources online that kids can use to learn about practical uses for math. One of the most noteworthy is NASA’s Practical Uses of Math and Science (PUMAS). Here you will find a wide range of examples of practical logic problems. PUMAS is geared toward kids of all ages, so there is something there for your child no matter how old.
A few more resources to consider are:
These are just a few of the many options available for kids to practice math online. You’ll find many more with a quick Google search.
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Practical Math Problems for Adults
Kids aren’t the only ones that can learn about practical uses for math. Even as an adult, sometimes you’ve got to crunch some numbers.
Calculating Your Savings Interest
As an adult, keeping track of your money is critical. Everyone should strive to have a savings account for emergencies. Savings accounts may not offer great interest returns, but they’re much safer than investing in the market. Calculating the interest returned on your savings is a very practical use of math. It’s also very simple.
Savings accounts tend to accrue interest based on an annual percentage yield (APY). The formula to calculate your savings interest each year is to simply multiply your principal balance by APY. For example, if you put $5,000 into a savings account with a 0.5% APY (and don’t add any additional money), you’ll accrue $25 worth of interest. This is 5,000 * .005.
To calculate how much you will have after two years (again, with no additional deposits), you would take your new balance of $5,025 and again multiply by 1.005 to get a total of $5,050.13.
Online Practical Math and Logic Resources for Adults
There are plenty of opportunities for adults to learn practical math skills online. For most adults, practical skills will revolve around finances, though basic geometry can be practical for anyone interested in home improvement projects. These types of projects often involve measurements, calculating surface area, and more.
EdX is a gold mine for adult-level courses in all types of subjects, including math. It offers courses from prestigious universities such as Harvard for free. Some of our favorites for math-related topics are:
- Personal Finance (Purdue University)
- Fundamentals of Statistics (MIT)
- Effective Thinking Through Mathematics (University of Texas Austin)
This list is only a start. Check out EdX for a full list of courses and math study options for adults.
Math Problems Are All Around Us
You don’t have to look far to find a problem that can be solved with math. You can calculate how many gallons of gas you can get for $40. Or calculate how much of each ingredient needs to go into a double batch of your favorite cookie recipe. Or you can calculate how much money you could save by comparing insurance quotes to your current policy. When you know how to use it, math can make your life easier.