Math can be a difficult concept. Some people will pick it up like it is second nature. Others might struggle to come to terms with the abstract concepts. You might have thought, “Why do I need to learn this? When will I ever use this in real life?” We want to help you answer that question so you can see the value of math. Here are four different examples you can give for math uses in everyday life:


Whether it’s pinching pennies to pay your bills on time or saving up for the hottest fashion item of the season, money management is essential. Interestingly, most sales are actually math equations. Let’s say you have two coupons for a cereal that costs $5. One brand is buy one box, get the second box for 50% off. Another coupon offers 30% off your entire cereal purchase. Let’s say you want to buy three boxes because cereal is your favorite way to start your morning. What’s the correct coupon to use? Using the 30% off coupon in this case will actually save you an extra $2.50. Saving money is one way to visualize the power of math.


Are you a fan of Master Chef Junior or Top Chef? If so, you’ve probably seen how math influences a chef's ability to cook. Fractions and multiplication become incredibly important when following recipes. Let’s say you’re looking at a cupcake recipe that feeds four people. However, you want to bake treats for eight of your friends, you’ll need to multiply the recipe. A few hours in the kitchen will make you thank your third-grade math teacher. A delicious cupcake could go a long way in helping someone remember that 2/8th = 1/4th.

Click here to learn how City Year AmeriCorps members teach their students about how math is used in everyday life. Here is a City Year AmeriCorps member in her red jacket working alongside her student at the whiteboard.


Need to make a decision on the fly? Become a good estimator of time. If you have to go to the grocery store, then do your laundry after work, what time will you actually get home? You might know that grocery shopping usually only takes you about 45 minutes and that laundry should be another hour and a half. A quick math equation will tell you to block off two hours and fifteen minutes. Time is just one of the many uses of the concept of estimation.


Do you have friends and family that live in different parts of the country or abroad? If so, you understand how hard it can be to communicate. If you live in Washington D.C. but your best friend lives in California, coordinating a phone call can be a challenge. If they want to talk at 5pm, what time should you expect them call? You will need to know the different time zones and how to do the mathematical calculations to know when to connect.

It’s practically impossible to go about our days without interacting with math in some way. Math is important to any job, no matter what industry you go into. If you decide to serve a year with us, you’ll likely help out young students with their math schoolwork and work with them to improve their math skills. City Year is committed to providing students with the resources and support they need to succeed in math and English, in order to stay on track and graduate from high school on time.

For more examples on how math is a part of our everyday life, head on over to your local library and check out books like this one.

City Year Los Angeles AmeriCorps member Emily Baeza uses technology to work with her student on math concepts.

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