Petersen Explains Why Math is Important

Ben Petersen

PC: StudentVue

Ben Petersen

Beatrice Byrd, Staff Writer

When looking at the core subjects in school, math is always a hot topic. While the type of math and the difficulty may vary, the classes are still required for students to pass in order to graduate. 

While some students love the puzzle-like problems found in the pages of math books, other students have disdain towards the subject, and can not find anything remotely fun about the subject. 

Ben Petersen, head of the math department at CHS says math works your brain like reading and writing, just in a different way

 “It’s a brain exercise,” Petersen said, “It’s like learning a board game.”

Oftentimes, these students who don’t like math are also the ones who are not doing as well in their math classes because it is hard to work on something that they don’t enjoy and engage in. Due to their problems with the subject, some of these kids are put in additional math classes as an attempt to boost their understanding of the subject, but is it really helpful to put them into more of the class that don’t enjoy?

“It’s good for a student who struggles to be able to get some extra support, but you are then telling them they can’t have an elective,” Petersen said.

While these kids may not be succeeding in the math curriculum, that does not make them incapable of understanding other subjects. Every student has a class that they prefer and perform better in.

Petersen remembered, “I liked math because I was awful at English.” He explains how math came easily to him, and his parents also like the subject, so he identified with math.

Some students also feel that some of the subject material feels like a mundane task that they will never have to use after high school. So, what about math is important for students?

Petersen said, “It depends on what you want to go into. The type of math is the questionable part,” He continued in saying that all the factoring that students do in some of the math classes will not be necessary after high school.

Some of the more frequent real life mathematics are not being offered and taught in schools, and this is an issue that may be important to highlight when looking at future curriculum topics and choices. 

If you are a student who is having a harder time in math, Petersen suggests, “You have to pretend you care about it. You’re going to lose if all you say is you’re bad at it. Disengaging won’t get you anywhere.”