EVERY DAY, ISLANDERS USE MATH IN WAYS THEY DON'T REALIZE.

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Saying "I suck at math" is common among people of all ages. Lots of people think they suck at math. Some people say that they just don’t have a “math brain.” But this self-assessment and saying "I suck at math"... IT DOESN'T ADD UP.

Math is something that anyone can always get better at with a little practice AND is something you already use, lots of times when you don’t even realize you’re using it. 

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STEAM PEI is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire young Islanders to pursue learning and careers in science, technology, engineering, art and math fields by fostering their curiosity and confidence through experiential learning opportunities.

As part of their ongoing engagement with Islanders, they noted that when faced with any sort of problem or challenge that might somehow pertain to math – many Islanders would simply state "I suck at math".

STEAM PEI's goal is to change this perception by showcasing how all Islanders use math problem-solving skills in everyday activities!

And that these activities could only be completed through the knowledge of mathematical concepts you already have.

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IT'S TIME FOR ISLANDERS TO ‘SUBTRACT THE SUCK’ FROM HOW THEY ASSESS THEIR MATH SKILLS.

IT'S TIME YOU START 'MULTIPLYING YOUR MATH CONFIDENCE' AND REALIZE...

“I ROCK AT MATH!”

WAYS YOU ROCK AT MATH!

• HEALTH

We use math in all areas of exercise to record success and growth in fitness. Calculating BMI (Body Mass Index), heart rate, calories burned during an activity, interpreting nutritional labels, and determining your daily calorie intake all use basic mathematical skills. Pharmacists and doctors also use math to calculate the correct dosage of your medications.

YOUR MATH SKILLS: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Converting metric and imperial units, Rounding numbers, Converting fractions to decimals, Interpreting fractions and percentages

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• VIDEO GAMES

Fundamental mathematics go into the creation of video games as well as playing them. One of the main mathematical skills required to be successful in playing most games is problem-solving to overcome obstacles to advance to a higher level.

YOUR MATH SKILLS: Logical Reasoning, Game Theory, Probability, GAME DESIGNER MATH SKILLS: Trigonometry, Calculus, Linear Algebra

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• DRIVING & TRIP PLANNING

Math is an integral part of planning everyday commutes and longer trips. You use math every time you think about the distance, time, or cost of travel. When you decide what time you need to leave to arrive at your destination on time or when you budget for vacation–All of these require basic math concepts and operations. Math helps us answer questions like:

  • How long will it take to cover any particular distance?
  • Which route would be faster?
  • How far can you drive before needing to stop for gas?
  • How long can your vacation be and what activities can you afford?

YOUR MATH SKILLS: Estimation, Numerical Reasoning, Budgeting, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Calculating Decimals, Algebra

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• FASHION

Math is used in fashion by designers to create clothing patterns and design details that go into every item they make, but it’s also used by consumers. Measurements, proportions, sizing, and determining the best deals are all part of the clothes-buying experience, especially when online shopping!

YOUR MATH SKILLS: Measurements, Proportions, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Percentages

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MULTIPLY YOUR MATH CONFIDENCE

• STILL THINK YOU SUCK AT MATH? YOU CAN ALWAYS GET BETTER THROUGH A GROWTH MINDSET.

Brains are very flexible and can learn new skills quickly if we believe we can and we put the work in. No one is born with a “math brain,” instead math skills develop from practice. Brains need to be exercised just like any other muscle in your body! 

When you practice math, your brain develops new connections that get stronger each time you practice. As the connections get stronger, doing the task gets easier and easier–this is how learning happens. And guess what... when you believe that you can get better at math, these connections are able to grow faster. 

Believing that you can get better at math (or anything else) with practice is called having a GROWTH MINDSET. Growth mindsets are really important to learning because when people are in a growth mindset, they are less worried about making mistakes, they try harder, and their brain is actually more active and faster at making these new connections.

LEARN MORE ABOUT GROWTH MINDSETS IN THIS VIDEO:

• WHY CAN MATH BE SO HARD?

Math can be challenging to learn because each new math skill builds on top of the previous ones you learned, like a brick wall or a Jenga tower. If you are missing a math concept or lack confidence in any foundational math concepts, the new skills you are trying to learn can get harder and harder.

Imagine how shaky a Jenga tower gets if you pull out some blocks at the base and then try to keep stacking more blocks on the top… just on one side. This is exactly like what’s happening in your brain when you try to learn a new skill that relies on foundational concepts you don’t have. Your brain is trying to make a path using connections that aren't there.

Maybe those connections aren’t there because you had a bad experience with a teacher one year, maybe you were sick and missed a couple really important lessons, maybe your teacher didn’t explain it in a way that made sense to you, or maybe you learned it years ago and you just got rusty! There are lots of reasons you could be missing a foundational math concept and none of these things mean you are bad at math, they just mean you need to fill in some blocks and get a sturdier foundation so you can be a math wiz.

NEED MORE CONVINCING THAT ANYONE CAN BE A MATH PERSON? WATCH THIS VIDEO:

ADDITIONAL MATH CONFIDENCE RESOURCES

Khan Academy offers practice exercises and free instructional videos that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. The following are several of their MATH VIDEO PLAYLISTS.

Here’s a few more Kahn videos to further your math knowledge.

Find out what areas of math you could improve on and practice them with the UK's National Numeracy Challenge.

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CLICK TO LEARN about, or review, math concepts like multiplication, fractions, and decimals with videos created by Dr. Tess Miller, a professor in UPEI's Department of Education.

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Still not convinced that you are or will ever be good at math? This short ONLINE COURSE might help you change your mindset!