Skip to main content

Math Formulas We Can Really Use


If any cry of anguish is universal across generations, it's this one, said by kids in Algebra classes throughout the land: "Why do I have to do this stuff? Am I ever going to use it in real life?"

Kids and adults alike acknowledge that we use elementary-school math in real life on a daily basis. We add, subtract, multiply and divide quite frequently. But when teachers start replacing the numbers with letters, and are introduced to terms such as "variable" and "polynomial", then those instructors meet resistance from students, and their protests often center around the idea that this kind of math will do them no good in the real world.

A lazy adult will simply affirm the students' suspicions by admitting that complex algebraic problems don't make their way into everyday life. It's an easy thing to say, but the truth is that life is full of situations in which formulas are required or at least helpful.

Here are some math formulas that ring true in real life:


1. Formula: C ~ 1/T

Real-life application: The size of a pickup truck is inversely proportional to the likelihood that the driver is a cat owner.

Where "C" is the likelihood that the driver is a cat owner (the dependent variable), and T is the truck size (the independent variable). As T increases, C decreases.




2. Formula:
G = A - (C + RE)/O

Real-life application: If you've ever grocery-shopped, you are aware of the Obvliot, the one who blocks the aisle by having their cart on one side, and their body on the other. Shoppers like you need to be able to calculate the available space in order to determine whether to try to get through, or just go around.

Where:
-G stands for the Gap that you can drive your cart through.
-A is the width of the aisle
-C is the width of the cart
-RE is the width of the Rear End of the shopper who's trying to keep you from making progress in your journey.

and of course

O is the measure of how Oblivious the shopper is to the fact that they are in the way.





3. Formula: A = P x SF

Real-life application: The worse a perfume smells, the more is applied.

Where A is the amount, in gallons, of perfume that is applied to the offender's face/neck/whatever, where P is the perfume, and SF is the Stink Factor.


Do you have any more math formulas which apply to real life?

Comments

Emily Timbol said…
Thank you for answering my plea for the formula in number 3. Finally I understand WHY.

Popular posts from this blog

Beyond the door greeter: The most important contribution of Tim Wright

My sons Jacob and Zachary have baseball cards. Hundreds of them. They like to spend time with them, because the cards feed two of their passions: baseball and numbers. They organize and re-organize the cards. They play fictional baseball games, complete with playoffs, with them. Most important, they show the cards off to their friends. Even adults who come over to the house are likely to be introduced to the baseball cards collection by my sons.
I have a friend named Frank. He's retired, and is an expert woodworker. Visitors to his house will be treated to the tour: he loves to show you the gorgeous cherrywood rocking horse, the grandfather clock, and countless other items he has made out of wood. They're all quite beautiful; very impressive. It's Frank's passion, and he loves to share what he has done with others.


For the last 15 years, I have had a friend named Tim Wright. His title was Pastor of Small Groups and Assimilation. We all know what a small group is, but &…

Book Review--"Love Does" by Bob Goff

Readers of Donald Miller's excellent book "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" were introduced to Bob Goff, a man who I'd swear is a fictional hero if Miller didn't insist he was a real person. Goff sounds like he's too good to be true.

The Good
The stories in Miller's book are pretty amazing: his kids invited themselves to meet with the leader of every nation in the world, and 29 presidents, kings,  and princes took them up on it. Goff started a New Year's day parade in which several blocks of neighbors participate. He managed to push through several judicial reforms in Uganda which resulted in kids being freed and witch doctors being put out of business. And that's just the start.

Bob Goff is a real person, and he's the real deal; he loves Jesus and has a desire to use what he has to show the love of Jesus in tangible, life-changing ways to as many people as he can. One cannot help but be inspired by reading these stories, and the life les…

Them Dents is Valuable

I guess I am spoiled, but for a Pixar film, "Cars 2" falls a little short, if only because the bar has been set insanely high by the quality of recent masterpieces such as "Toy Story 3" and "Up".  Any comparison of "Cars 2" with other recent Pixar output just isn't fair.

Quality aside, "Cars 2" hardly seemed like a sequel. The tone, the look, and the feel are very different from "Cars". Additionally, the plot was hard to follow and a little convoluted.

Despite the flaws, this film had one shining moment; one profound line in a decidedly non-profound movie, and it was delivered by Tow Mater.

Mater, you may recall, is a tow truck who's in dire need of mechanical attention. He has a missing hood, several dents, and rust issues. He's also a lovable doofus, lacking anything that resembles sophistication.

At one point in the movie, British secret agents decide to bring Mater into their plans to catch the bad guys and sa…