August 14, 2013
Lots of children dream big and we love that about them! Kids want to be sculptors, veterinarians, zoo keepers, pilots, baseball players, dancers -- they are only limited by their imaginations. As parents and teachers, our job is to give kids the tools they need to realize these dreams. Math learning is one of those tools, as shown by our list of 7 cool jobs that require math.
Looking for ways to motivate your dreamer in math? You can encourage your child by talking about how a [insert dream job here] needs math in their job. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
When watching balloons whisk a house away in Pixar's new summer movie Up, most of us weren't thinking about math. But in animation, math and art go together like peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Trigonometry helps rotate and move characters, while algebra creates the special effects to make images shine. Even artists have to pay attention in math class!
Designing board or video games is a cool job. Who wouldn't want to playtest Candyland, Monopoly, or Clue? Every game designer needs to have a good grasp of game theory - a branch of applied mathematics. Aspiring video game programmers should also study trigonometry, physics, and calculus. Chances are, board game designers will need to know probability, even if they won't be designing math games.
Robotics engineers design, test, and maintain robots! It's a growing industry and the employment outlook is sunny. Before you quit your day job and run off to design a house-cleaning robot, hit the math books. Most Robotics Engineers have a master's or doctorate. According to the article, "Learn About Robots" robotics may be the most inter-disciplinary of engineering endeavors.
As you ride a roller coaster through loops, dives, and dips, you're busy wondering if you're going to lose your lunch, not calculating velocity. But there are many different curves in a coaster and roller coaster engineers need to understand the mathematical properties of these curves, as well as physics, kinematics, and material strength. Like all cool jobs, roller coaster design is competitive -- there are only 100 roller coaster design companies in the U.S.!
The thrilling life of a jet fighter pilot seems worlds away from the math classroom. Movies like "Top Gun," show pilots streaking through the sky in futuristic birds, not calculating how much fuel they have left or figuring out the direction and speed of the wind. But pilots have to complete major math problems on the fly, and when they're zipping through the air at 700 mph, math skills are life saving.
What is his batting average? How many bases has he stolen? When those sports personalities give the play-by-play, they have to pay attention to the numbers: percentages, player stats, the clock. And sports casting is done live, which means there's no room for errors.
We think of shutterbugs as artists, not mathematicians. But professional photographers need mad math skills. They have to calculate depth of field, determine the correct film speed, shutter speed, aperture, and exposure -- and more. And to capture the moment, they need to do it all in a matter of minutes. Who knew so much math went into one photograph?