Patrick de Wet emphasizes that mathematics is an essential tool in everyday life, enhancing problem-solving skills and providing a sense of accomplishment. He shares his personal experience of how practicing mathematics in high school improved his problem-solving abilities and believes that making mathematics more accessible and comprehensible can inspire more people to embrace it.

Mathematics is a tool that can be used in everyone’s everyday life. It is a concept that everyone on this planet should use. It can not only help in problem-solving but bolster someone’s already-existing problem-solving abilities. Since I started to practice more mathematics in high school, my problem-solving skills have greatly improved. Mathematics can provide a sense of accomplishment in people’s lives, as the feeling of solving a mathematical challenge can be rewarding, which is the reason I enjoy mathematics so much. Mathematics occurs in almost every aspect of life. When you need to work out how much you would have to budget for a holiday trip to a resort or a day on campus, mathematics is incredibly helpful in calculating that budget. When a test is around the corner and you need to manage how much time you will need for your studies and the subsequent rest hours, you will need mathematics to figure out a suitable schedule. These are all examples of when mathematics came in handy in my day-to-day life.

Mathematics is certainly useful in everyday life, but unfortunately, not everyone is good at it, and some even try to avoid it. Mathematics can feel very unwelcoming to many individuals, as they were not taught properly how to understand or utilize it. Some others just do not have a brain for mathematics and would rather focus on other activities such as sports or the arts, etc. Mathematics can also be extremely overwhelming, as there are a lot of theorems, methods, equations, and calculations that someone could be introduced to and could find it difficult to incorporate into what they already know, whether they are good at mathematics or not. Trying to make mathematics easier to comprehend would be a strenuous task, but there are some ways this could be possible. Using analogies and visualizing mathematical problems for students could help them understand. For example, using a real-life problem of sharing four apples between two children would be a great way to introduce learners to the concept of division. Encouraging students to take every failure when dealing with mathematics as a learning experience not only assists them in finding the correct solution to a problem but also helps them to embrace mathematics and not revere it. These are just a few ways that can help students understand mathematics; however, these methods aren’t guaranteed to always work, as not all learning methods are helpful to all students. In primary school, I was quite poor in mathematics because I found it hard to understand, but after my seventh-grade teacher used these methods of teaching, I was capable of doing math to a good standard.

Mathematics should be compulsory, at least to a basic degree. Mathematics helps tremendously with someone’s ability to solve problems. That method of solving that specific problem gets taught to another person, and from there to another. This method could spread so far that almost everyone can now use it to solve that problem, and it could even be used to solve an entirely different problem. Someone could even improve upon this method and create a new one that not only works better but also solves more problems than the original method. This new method spreads and gets improved upon again, and the cycle continues. Everyone thinks in their own unique way. Someone could be introduced to a way of solving a problem that they had never thought of and combine that method with their own to create another method. This leads to more methods arising, people collaborating to form innovative ideas, and more people having an open mind. A world with more individuals collaborating to solve problems, knowledge being shared, and people being able to consider another person’s viewpoint is all possible with mathematics.

### Patrick de Wet

Student (2023)