Essay on The Real World Is Better Solved By Using Abstract Math

1126 Words Dec 6th, 2016 5 Pages
At times, trying to picture a mathematical problem in the real world is better solved by using abstract math. Ed Yong from National Geographic states that “when learning math, abstract symbols work better than real world examples” due to important logical thinking skills learned (2008). Learning theory is considered how well a person can relate a topic and solve the problem at an understandable quicker rate. According to National Geographic, there was a new study that shows that students who are “fed a diet of real-world problems fail to apply their knowledge to new situations” (2008). On the other hand, “against all expectations, they were much more likely to transfer their skills if they were taught with abstract rules and symbols” (Yong, 2008). Similar to the skills needed in algebra which include abstract reasoning skills in order to solve for unknown variables in equations. Yong interviewed Jennifer Kaminski, who is from Ohio State University and recently did a study involving basic mathematical ideas such as commutative properties with 80 undergraduate students. In this study, there was group A, which was taught using concrete examples such as “glasses of water, tennis balls and pizza slice” whereas group B was taught in a more generic way, so tennis balls and pizza were replaced “with generic using meaningless and arbitrary symbols” where students realized how they could be combined and applied in different situations (2008). In the study, Kaminski was satisfied that…

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