I hear this question quite often in my math and statistics courses: Students want to know why they should have to do any writing when they’re in a class that deals with numbers. But there are applications of math that only become apparent in writing.
Writing in a math class helps expand your knowledge and understanding of a topic when you research and educate yourself on new material. Writing also helps you remember material easier, by repetition. Plus when writing, you become more familiar with the topic, which lets you see how you can start applying it to your life and career. Writing in a math class also helps you learn how to communicate your thoughts and ideas, which is a vital skill for any career.
Expands your knowledge of the topic
The writing assignments in a math class will focus on topics that will require research to help you better understand a concept. For example, a statistics course may ask a student to research and write about misleading graphs, a topic that most people typically don’t think about. And that research paper will uncover the fact that while we think of graphs as unbiased ways to present information clearly, there are actually a great number of graphing techniques that allow data to be manipulated to present only the information a researcher wants to show. Writing on this topic reveals facts that are eye-opening for any student.
Helps you retain the material
When you write concepts down you are both increasing your grip on the topic and improving your recall. Not only does writing about a topic help you think about it in a new way, but repetition is helpful in remembering certain concepts. How many of you in grade school wrote out spelling words several times to remember the correct spelling? Plus, the more you talk and write about math, the more comfortable you will feel with the subject.
Helps apply what you are learning to different areas in your life
How does writing on a math topic apply to you after school? To list a few:
- Graphic Arts: Graphic artists use equations to layout pages.
- Computer Science: Subnetting in computer networking is based on algebraic equations.
- Respiratory Therapy: Respiratory therapists use equations to calculate the settings on ventilators.
- Accounting: Equations are used to calculate assets, debits, and liabilities.
Helps with written communication needed in careers
So many of us feel really comfortable explaining things verbally, but when asked to write something, we go into panic mode. Having written assignments in a math course prepares you for the workplace, where you will be communicating in writing every day through email, proposals, manuals, specifications, and other career-specific documentation.
Writing is good practice for your career and for life in general. Writing helps you expand your knowledge of a subject and helps you to improve your memory of a topic. Writing about new concepts helps you apply it to your life and helps you learn to communicate more clearly and easily.