We just can’t get enough math! Today we continue to share with you more of the winning entries from our “Math Every Day” contest, where we challenges students from across the country to tell us their “math story.” Some of our favorite winning entries came from some star students in Ms. Wilson’s 8th grade class at Westbrook Intermediate School in Texas. From pizza to costume design to counting steps, these students give us their unique take on how they use math in their daily lives.
The main way that I incorporate math into my everyday life is with the basic structure of it, that I was taught at a young age: counting. Counting is not something that I really have to think about. It is like walking or using a pogo stick. Once you learn how to do it, it is hard to forget, especially when you use the skill daily. I count everything whether it be books on a shelf, the food I am eating, or even my steps. Most people overlook this mathematical skill, when really it is the simplest and most important part of math. The picture I have included depicts me running during a cross country meet. From start to finish, I have been counting my steps and it is not just a one-time thing, I am often doing this. Many people would think I am crazy, but counting is really important to me because it is an easy way for me to focus my brain on one thing. Also, counting is important to math because without it math wouldn't really exist.
The way math is involved in my life is when I am sketching costumes. The sketches have to be in proper proportion or else they would look strange. Using proportions to roughly sketch out the costumes helps set up what the actual costume would look like. By setting up a proportion, I can use the sketch drawn to obtain the measurements needed to actually make the costume. The proper measurement for the costume can also be found by using basic mathematical processes, such as multiplying or dividing, to find out the length of the article of clothing. Math is also integrated into sketching by dividing up body sections and taking measurements for those specific parts. When sketching, a part must be a certain measurement within a certain ratio. If the ratio is incorrect then there is a chance that the costume will not be the right ratio to the person’s body.
Imagine hanging out with your friends and suddenly you all get hungry. You decide to make some pizza, so you go find a recipe online telling you need about 2 cups of flour to make a medium sized pizza. Since you guys wanted a large, you decided to use the ratio 2:3 for medium to large. But you put in a little less yeast than you were supposed to, assuming it was enough for the three of you. Well, you assumed wrong. The ratio was messed up and now the pizza was too small. You cut the pizza into 9 slices, each slice having an angle of about 40 degrees. Soon, you guys sit down to eat along with a nice movie, but everyone was so interested in the movie, no one was counting how many slices they ate. There is one slice left now and all three of you are eying it. Who is going to eat it? Well obviously you should eat since you paid, but mathematically you shouldn’t. If you cut a pizza into 9 pieces, you can divide it by 3 since there are three of you so each person would end up eating 3 slices. But, you ate four slices without noticing and now all of you are stuck. Rock paper scissors can work, but you have a 50 percent chance of beating the person you’re against. If you win, you rock, paper, scissors, with person number two. Now you have another 50 percent chance of winning that last slice. But one of your friends thinks you cheated so you get too fed up. You’re slowly losing your temper. You can’t take it anymore. You pick up your phone and dial Pizza Hut®. “Hello, I would like to order a small cheese pizza, along with a pack of nine chicken wings…”