Beauty and Power in Mathematics

I’m going to share the wondrous ways God has written math into our world. In this beautifully industrious culture we live in today, we are blessed in so many ways by the gift of mathematics, (think geometric shapes and the physics of ballet!) and yet, so many of us miss math as an essential ingredient to those gifts that we all enjoy everyday. We miss it because we are expecting something out of our math studies that we are misunderstanding as the main point. When we are expecting either a simple correct answer or a quick, easy hour of math, we miss the hour we could’ve spent struggling to understand where we might have used the language or even hearing about the ancient mathematicians, or seeing evidence of humanity inside those numbers.

“You have to learn pretty much everything by doing, and by struggling with it. Because that’s what the real world is, in the real world you just jump in.”

Salman Khan, Khan Academy

Yes. The struggle is real.


“Mathematics is the alphabet in which God has written the Universe.” 

Galileo, Italian astronomer

Whenever I hear, “I’m just not mathy”, I immediately imagine what might have happened during that person’s schooling years. Math isn’t a race. In order to truly define oneself as not mathy, they must not have been given enough time or enough of the wonderment. I’m so convinced, I need to share this message!

So where in YOUR life does Math elude you? The place where math is hiding, you don’t know it’s there, but it most certainly is essential.


In our cell phone world, we all take pictures. Have you ever taken a photo like the one above? Do you see the sunlight peaking down through the trees? That is refraction of light. In photography, refraction has the same rules as in physics, because there is only one refraction or bending of light. Photography IS engineering and physics if it’s done well, and as an art that moves it’s audience. If you’ve ever taken a beautiful picture like this, I’d argue that you do know math even if you think you don’t. It’s in your blood.

Playing Billiards

Have you ever wondered how billiards champions make such precise shots? Billiards is nothing but geometry and physics. You have to take into consideration the cue ball and how it hits the object ball. Does it have spin? If so, there’s a top and bottom of the ball. In that instance you can make assumptions about the angle the cue ball with turn after impact. Learn math to be a champion billiards player! This might be a fun side study for a Geometry student!

Figuring out Bills

We all use electricity. Formulas are available to help us figure out how companies prepare our bills. For instance, your electric bill is based on the kilo Watt hours of any electrical devices you use monthly in your home. Does it feel like the company’s whim when your bill comes in the mail? Or do you know how they calculated the value you are responsible for paying? You can go to this site to figure it out, but it’s basic Algebra! It’s definitely not best practice to just pay whatever someone tells you. There’s always the potential for human error.

Logic Brain Training!

Remember when you were little and you learned how to put different shaped objects through similarly shaped holes? You were training your brain to do logic. After shapes, you learned to count. This trained you to start to see patterns in your world. Skip counting and multiplication facts further exemplified this pattern recognition. Around age 12 you probably started learning about “x” and finding patterns in the question as well as in the answer became the new challenge. The one thing the same from the day you picked up the first block was the “challenge”. Even if you never answer the question of “solving for x” in your adult life, you will always be served challenges or solving problems. Always. Algebra is the brain training that will help you with adult, real world problem solving. The Arabic word, “al jabr” actually means “the restoration”. And balance is a goal for us in all areas of our lives. The video shows the history of the word “Algebra”.

Where will you Work?

I’m willing to bet that any industry has algebra as an ingredient into it’s greatest successes. I used to work for Technicolor, the company that duplicates and distributes Warner Brother and Disney videos. The first year I was working in their Detroit office, the management made the decision to consolidate six buildings into one very spacious Livonia, Michigan office. There were racks of inventory in all six buildings that would be moved into the one new, large building. The old racks had a numbering system and the new racks needed a numbering system. Then the inventory needed to be intelligently guided into the new building in some sort of order and at a decent speed and quality rating. Going slow and losing inventory would cost money. I was given the task of running that system because I didn’t mind the task of figuring out that algorithm. The job was just “Inventory Clerk”. I didn’t consider it a mathy job, but it became one because I rose to the challenge. I was hired in alongside two other college graduates that told me they couldn’t have done what I did because they weren’t mathy.

Nurses need to know high level math!

I tutored an adult friend of mine last year through her college math classes. She had to know calculus! Think about it, calculus is just limits or ranges. And every medicine has a range of goodness. Not enough of a medicine and you don’t fix anything. Too much and you could kill someone. That is calculus or limits in a nutshell, and all nurses need to know about it. Come to think about it… shouldn’t all parents understand limits?

Algebra opens up other fields of study…

Algebra is the gateway to a multitude of fields of study: biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, economics, food science, environmental science, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, psychology and social sciences.  Is it really worth it to not do well in one class, that you may close that many doors? 

“Mathematics is the key and door to the sciences.”

Galileo Galilee

Compound Interest is hard to understand without Algebra

If you hope for an easy life where you can afford to work at a comfortable pace and perhaps retire someday with money in the bank, then algebra is an avenue you may want to travel down. There are two types of savings if you had to break them down simply. One is simple interest on your savings, and the other (better) option is compound interest. As long as you don’t plan to keep your cash under your pillow or mattress, you’ll be saving your money to the tune of either simple or compound interest in a bank. In order to understand compound interest and to have any sort of control over your own money, you’ll need to understand the formula of how your savings will grow differently and more quickly with compound interest. Trust me, you want to know this. Here’s a site that will explain how to calculate compound interest.

Math truly is in Everything. Galileo was correct when he said Mathematics is the alphabet from which God has written the Universe… It is balance, restoration, and beautiful.

Jen at Log Cabin Schoolhouse 😉 

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