So, how do I do math? And what is considered doing math to me? To answer the preceding questions, I took a day to evaluate my daily experiences of doing math and at the end of the day I determined whether those things would be considered doing math. Until September 24, 2015, I had never paid attention to how much math I did outside of my math courses. On Thursday I just had a Climate class and work at Dick's Sporting Goods and my day started off with me doing math. After waking up for class that morning, I predicted the time it would take me to shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, do my hair, drive to campus, find parking, and make it to class on time. Every morning, I am positive most people calculate a similar process to make it to where ever they are headed. This is considered doing math to me because you have to add up all the time it takes to do a normal morning routine and traffic to make it to your destination on time.
After class, I went to work where I am currently a cashier. Technically, I do not do much math throughout my shifts because the computer does all the calculations for me. However, on this day I noticed how many random math related questions I was asked by customers and coworkers. For example, a customer noticed we had a 25% off sale on select Nike apparel and she asked me what would her total be if she purchased a $55 shirt and $40 pants. As always, I get excited to help people with anything math related and I have her pull out her calculator. We entered (55+40)(.75) to calculate the sale price before taxes which was $71.25 and then multiplied that number by 1.06 and got $75.53 as her total. To her surprise, method was much shorter than what she was going to do and she was highly satisfied that the price I gave her matched what the computer said when she finally checked out. Another incident occurred during this shift when a coworker of mine asked me, " hey Khadijah, aren't you a math major?" I responded yes and he said, "Cool, I have a riddle for you to solve. There are 30 cows in a field, 28 chickens, how many didn't?" I was beyond confused! How could I answer such a question? I was convinced there was missing information. Being a math major, I started brainstorming and trying to think of the most logical answer. After about 20 minutes of coming up with nothing and throwing out random answers, I finally gave up. Then my coworker says to me, "people who love math always get stuck on this question when I ask." I was thinking to myself, well yeah because there is missing information. Finally, he writes down the question instead of asking and it read, "There are 30 cows in a field, 20 ate chickens, how many didn't?" At this point I knew the answer and was so amazed when I discovered the mistake most people make when they are asked the question. As the day went on, I continued to notice the math I unconsciously do on a daily.
All in all, my lesson learned from this is that math can be done in multiple ways and a lot of math can be done without thought. This lesson also put into perspective for me why teachers always tell students they need math and students do not agree. Well, it is indeed necessary to possibly help a customer figure out sales prices, solve a riddle, time daily routines, cry, calculated catching a mouse, and the list goes on. In general, math goes beyond what I described above. This was just my reaction to many peers and students I have encountered that hate math, think we don't use it, or don't need it. My goal was to show how I use it just in my daily living, whether or not I'm in a math class.