Despite the increased use of calculators, it is essential for students to study arithmetic. Mathematics apart form being an academic discipline offers several benefits to students that are essential in their overall conduct and approach to life as they transition into adulthood (Howe and Roger, 4). Moreover, using a calculator may prove difficult if a person does not have the general basics of arithmetic. Mathematics is also a focal point for many career paths that explicitly or implicitly use mathematical concepts such as medicine, geology and engineering.
Arithmetic is alive in nature all around us. An individual with an understanding of arithmetic is able to interact better with the elements compared to a person whose understanding of mathematics is limited to the calculator. Important measures such as volume, mass and weight among others can only be derived through mathematical calculations. Moreover, these measures are relative and have a huge implication on the way we function. They then translate into tangible decisions we make with in our day to day lives. For instance, an individual who wants to find out the best angle of pitch for their roof for a particular type of structure. They must understand geometry and after that its implication on the volume of air under the roof and so on. These are things the calculator cannot teach.
Arithmetic is also an instruction in basic problem solving (Farrington‐Flint et al., 8). It enhances a student’s ingenuity which can serve them a great deal when navigating challenging situations in their day to day lives. In a way, it “sharpens” the mind and increases our capacity to face difficulty. A student who painstakingly solves a long arithmetic problem that seemed impossible is fortifying their attitudes and resolve. They will yearn for even more challenging problems that face us in society. In sports as well they are likely to be very competitive and have a desire to progress through the ranks. It is very important that the products of the education system are not only academically sound but are also robust and head strong.
Mathematics is also an important way of distinguishing academic ability between students. This is well apart from using a calculator which everyone can become proficient at with continued practice. A student’s ability to perform well in arithmetic is a metric that can be used to determine the students who get selected for courses that traditionally have a lot of competition such as engineering and architecture. Moreover, since the courses normally involve a huge amount of mathematical expressions and content, it can be safely assumed that a student with a good grasp of arithmetic will not struggle much in school.
An underestimated use of mathematics is in financial management (Piasecki and Krzysztof, 10). An individual with a good understanding of arithmetic can make a budget as they go. They can do it at the mall, at a traffic jam and so on. On the other hand, a person dependent on the calculator may not have this off the cuff ability with finances. Moreover, financial decisions such as mortgages and stock market investments are better made when a person understands figures and the implications of other variable such as time on their investment decisions.
Farrington‐Flint, Lee, Sophie Vanuxem‐Cotterill, and James Stiller. “Patterns of problem‐solving in children’s literacy and arithmetic.” British Journal of Developmental Psychology 27.4 (2009): 815-834.
Howe, Roger. “The most important thing for your child to learn about arithmetic.” ors: Xuhua Sun, Berinderjeet Kaur, Jarmila Novo (2015): 107.
Piasecki, Krzysztof. “Basis of financial arithmetic from the viewpoint of the utility theory.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1302.0537 (2013).