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Class questions math relevance

Leadership students sit around a table and plan an event. They scribble costs on a sheet of paper: If buses can be rented for x, the photographer costs y and the dinner costs z, how much should they charge for each ticket? How many couples are needed to make a profit?

Even though the team is planning Sadie Hawkins, they use one of several mathematical procedures.

While many students fail to see the purpose of math used outside of the classroom, Michael Fenton, math teacher, believes every problem applies to daily life.

“Mathematics is a search for patterns and the application of those patterns to the world around us,” Fenton said. “Whether or not students actually use the specific concepts and skills, they will apply the general ability to think and reason, that they learn in the classroom.”

While students seem to benefit from basic math skills, many careers and hobbies utilize math.

“In leadership, we use math every day,” Janae Ford, ’09, said. “It’s necessary to estimate how many pizzas and balloons for a lunch, or to know how many people we need to sign up for a profit and how much to charge for tickets; it’s very useful.”

Real estate agents, restaurant managers and engineers as well as the average student, use mathematics in different ways.

“I think math is important because I will use it in a career as a veterinarian when I determine rates and measure medicines,” Rachel Guthrie, ’10, said. “Even though math may not seem relevant right now, it will give me skills that will help save the lives of animals.”

Not only do mathematics seem to help with jobs, they can describe and evaluate problems. For example, a histogram showing how obesity rates have skyrocketed helps to notify a nation regarding health risks.

“People use math without realizing it,” Daniel Kaiser, ’08, said. “We use addition and subtraction on a grocery budget, percentages for sale prices and even advanced math for taxes later in life.”

Math can often be a problem for students, whether precise calculations or formula memorization.

“I have realized that people can use math to describe concepts of life,” David Quenzer, ’07, said. “Life is a like a progressive linear equation; you can’t turn back time, and there is a starting and ending point. Math can be practical too, when I go fishing, I use it to determine what kind of fish I catch by my cast.”

Some campuses even compete in math. The California State University (CSU) sponsored the annual Math Field Day at Fresno State on April 21. Students across the Central Valley utilized their mathematical skills as they competed in a variety of events.

The CSU Fresno Mathematics Department states the purpose of Math Field Day is “to provide capable students with the opportunity to meet and compete with students from other schools and to receive the recognition that they so richly deserve.?

FC finished second in the small school division and brought the most students in the entire competition, 92 students between the junior high and high school teams; 77 participated from the high school and 15 junior high students represented FC.

?I required students in all of my honors classes to attend because I wanted as many students to participate in the Math Field Day as possible,? Fenton said. ?I think it (Math Field Day) was a great opportunity for students to challenge themselves mathematically, to get a taste of some very difficult problems and to have some fun with math outside of the typical classroom environment.?

For more information, read Benjamin Dang’s April 18, article, Campus fights math battle or Campus wins multiple math awards .

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    Alexandrah AlemanOct 3, 2009 at 6:44 am

    This band exchange was totally and completely amazing! The coolest thing happened: a trumpet player for Bakersfield Christian remembered me from the 4th grade when he went here in 4th grade for just one year. He is such a strong Christian and now we are talking and reconnecting again; it’s really quite amazing.

    The whole exchange was an awesome opportunity for the band to prepare and perform for others before the upcoming festival in San Diego.

    To my fellow band members: you were all amazing and praised the Lord through all the music and hard work you presented today. I am so proud to play with all of you!