The Ways We Use Math in the Real World: 8 Examples

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    You may not realize it, but many children ask themselves: What relevance do abstract equations have in my life? Why practice math problems like ‘John bought 45 watermelons’ equations when nobody ever buys 45 watermelons in real life?

    Yes, it happens, and sometimes schools fail to address these doubts correctly or even recognize them. Getting kids to understand math formulas and processes has become second nature to teachers. However, getting them to learn math using real world math problems is another story altogether.

    In What Ways Does Math Exist in The Real World?

    To a lot of individuals, math serves little practical purpose. We do not use all those equations after leaving school. However, the simple truth is that we unknowingly use mathematical concepts daily. Numerical calculations are part of going shopping, cooking, and working, amongst other activities.

    Fluency in math equals success in countless real-world activities that involve logical thinking and spatial skills. Moreover, it also enables different brain parts to utilize them well. Nevertheless, if you view math at its full scale, you will see that the civilization that exists at present was brought by ancient Greek mathematics. Everything, from architecture, machines, and medicines to iPads, came out of calculation.

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    Math in the Real World

    Often, teachers take situations from everyday life to teach math in a meaningful and real-world sense. Check these real life math problems below:

    Which Popcorn Container Is Better?

    While in the cinema, you look forward to getting a big popcorn box in your mouth, which should keep it occupied till the end of the film. However, upon getting closer to the popcorn stand, you notice two bags of the same product: cone-shaped and cylindrical. They are the same size, but the only ones selling anything for $5.

    Which Popcorn Container Is Better?

    Which one should you choose? You can hardly tell them apart at a glance. However, mathematicians are brilliant and understand that you’ll be forced to pay much more for a coned bag. Therefore, the cone has a constant ratio of one-third of cylinders with the same height. Therefore, this cylindrical bag will hold the acorn and allow you to pick up various snack foods.

    What Makes Bees Build Hexagons Inside Their Hives?

    Bees are among Earth’s most complex working creatures, yet their buzzing critters are economical with space for all their work. Their hives always take the form of a hexagon, not any other shape.

    Why Do Bees Construct Hexagons in Their Hives?

    The question is: Why not round honeycombs? They will not fit since they would leave large cavities with round cells. Why should triangle or square cells, then? They won’t be efficient either. Many of such operations with numbers take place in those hexagon cells. A hexagon has the lowest circumference and maximum area.

    As one of the math in the real world examples, we can also consider if the hexagon has a side length of five centimeters. The formula of a perimeter is the sum of all sides: 5 x 6 = 30. Thus, the hexagon of the 5 cm side becomes a 30 cm long line. The hexagon’s surface area formula is The quotient of (3 √3 x S2)/2, with S as the hexagon’s side length. For our hexagon, we have the following formula: The area of the body is equal to (3 × √3 × 25) ÷ 2 = 64.95 sq cms.

    As such, let us apply the same to an equilateral triangle with a perimeter measuring 30 centimeters. It will have sides measuring 10 centimeters each and an area of 43.3 square centimeters. To construct a triangle with a surface area of 64.95cm^{2}, its perimeter measures 37.75cm, about 25% larger than a hexagon’s side.

    Therefore, had the bees been triangulators, they would have needed 25% more wax to cover a hexagonal cell’s surface area. Additionally, a hexagon provides six wall stiffeners that share loads more evenly than triangles and squares.

    Folding Paper Problem

    Have you heard about paper-folding and its magical theory? You have probably learned that folding a regular letter-size paper more than eight times is impossible.

    A paper sheet 1:219 KM long has been used for the current world record of noon. It is also believed that if you fold a piece of paper forty-two times, it will be as thick as the distance between you and the moon. Firstly, it increases in thickness as it folds exponentially. Consider a typical sheet with a thickness of 0.1 mm (similar to an A4 paper). Here is how thick it will be with each fold:

    • No fold – 0.1 mm thickness
    • One fold is equal to 2 times the thickness. The paper has two layers. It has a depth of not more than 0.2mm.
    • Two folds = 2². Upon folding, you will have two layers of material, after which the process is repeated.
    • Three folds = 2³. You will double four layers. There will be eight layers.
    • Four folds = 2⁴. This is doubling eight layers for a total of 16.
    • Five folds = 2⁵. Doubling 16 results in 32.
    • Six folds = 2⁶. Doubling 32 equals 64.
    • Seven folds = 2⁷. Doubling 64 equals 128.

    To illustrate, a paper sheet of 7 folds consists of 128 layers. It will be 12.8 mm thick (128 x 0.1 equals 12.8mm). The paper is now too thick, and insufficient surface spaces support further folding.

    Folding Paper to the Moon

    What about 42 folds? These products will have 4,398,046,511,104 or 4.39 trillion levels each year. Theoretically, the paper thickness should be 439,800 millimeters / 439.8 billion meters. Consequently, 439.8 million meters is similar to 439804 km, which is precisely equal to the Earth and moon’s distance of 384,400km.

    To answer the question of how is math used in the real world, take this example. When you fold a flat piece of paper enough times, it will exceed the distance from here to the moon. However, while being folded, the visible area of the paper diminishes by a factor ½ (1/2), but the actual area does not. The first fold reduces the paper to half its original size, making it 50% of its original size. It then will be one-fourth of the first fold.

    After 42 folds, the visible surface area becomes less than an atom’s. Essentially, you cannot have it shrunk to that tiny size. Hence, kids can understand why saying you cannot fold a piece of paper more than seven times is an oversimplification. This is one of the direct math in real life examples.

    Math in Real world

    Saving Money

    Help kids start a simple savings plan to introduce them to financial literacy. Motivate them to have manageable targets, such as putting aside money for a toy or an excursion. Teach them to track savings and decisions related to spending as they earn or receive Money. Such an approach is based on practice, helping to reinforce addition and subtraction while teaching children how to save or budget.

    Investment Using Geometric Progression

    There are many jokes related to math when speaking of school money matters. For examples of math in the real world, when individuals walk into a store to purchase 49 watermelons, in the case of math. You could, for instance, talk about Money in terms of stock markets and interest rates as an elementary instance of simple interest — or just fortune and wealth.

    Considering that you invested $1,000 in banks and stocks, what would be your returns in a few years? Over time, the prices of various stocks go up, and $1,000 could rise to $10,000 or even $100,000 as a geometrical proportion. However, this is just a one-time investment. How about using $150 each month in stocks and banks?

    One of the real world math examples is the crypto market, which has become faster several times. However, there are some occasions whereby fortunate investors amass millions within seconds due to rapid variations in the value of varied digital currencies.

    Such instances demonstrate that math is an integral part of daily life, which will help improve the children’s knowledge of finance. This practice gives them answers to some of the most relatable questions: What’s the way to break the rat race? How to become independent?

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    Jobs requiring measurements are numerous, such as in construction and post, meteorology, etc. Measurements count for everyone; hence, you should prove them to your child if they need to mail a package or find out whether their PlayStation fits the table.

    Now, give them a meter rule and ask them to measure things instead. For real life math problems examples, get them to assist you in posting a parcel to your grandparents. Allow them to record the dimensions along with the weight of the packing box, or keep a note about the temperature record on a thermometer.

    Searching For Discounts While Practicing Percentages

    Take them through Amazon and eBay if your child is uncomfortable with percentages. One can learn percentages best while online shopping because of the off-percentage discounts. Their favorite shoes cost $100. How many can be saved with a twenty percent sign-in discount? This integration of a math problem into something they love will serve as an encouragement to young brains to master percentages.

    In some cases, it is just as easy to calculate the percentage of a number by multiplication. For example, to determine what 20% of 5 is, multiply it by 0.2.

    Grocery Shopping

    They are giving kids a chance to understand addition and subtraction while grocery shopping, which is very beneficial. Have them tally items in the cart as they walk past each item. Ask them to take discount calculations and explain why prices decrease when a promotion occurs. This kind of hands-on experience will revisit the basics of real life situation math problems and show how math is needed daily in real-life situations.

    Time Management

    For most students, the notion of time is difficult to comprehend. It is an inevitable skill that the child must be familiar with from the beginning of their childhood. Children will also learn to use the clock to tell the time and thus be able to assign and finish tasks.

    Organizational skills include being able to tell time and manage schedules, among others, which are very important for teaching children—using a clock to schedule activities/setting timers for tasks to help them understand time in terms of hours, minutes, and seconds. This approach further enhances math skills, which also helps instill discipline and self-responsibility in children. However, time management is an invaluable skill that transcends math and constitutes one of the essential attributes in individual development in general.

    Building and Construction

    Building projects like a birdhouse or a small shelf can be an engaging activity, showing kids how math real life problems are applied in real life. They also learn about measurements, geometry, and spatial relationships using materials. Building something with their hands gives them a tangible understanding of length, width, and height. This increases achievement experience, giving kids a chance to appreciate mathematics truly.

    Sports Scores and Statistics

    Venture into scores, statistics, averages, and other numbers that give meaning to the thrill of sports. Mathematical ideas such as averages, percentages, and basic arithmetic can be presented when discussing player statistics or team performance. The relationship between sport and math is established by kids who can determine a batting average, points per game, etc., relating them to their cherished activity.

    Map Reading and Navigation

    Map reading and navigation are other examples of how math is used in the real world to introduce basic geometry and measurement skills. Encourage your kids while planning trips and exploring neighborhoods by allowing them to understand distances, directions, and scale markings on maps.

    Besides developing their spatial awareness, they learn that units are used in measuring for real world math problems examples. Length, weight, area, or volume, as well as geometric relations, help them solve real world problems math, which also become a part of how they explore and understand the world around them.

    Budgeting for Allowance

    Giving kids an allowance that will teach them about budgeting is a great way to empower them with financial skills, as they will learn how best they can save, spend, and give out, as well as how to budget for things. Motivating them to save a portion of their income and spending the rest while giving to others would not be wrong. It shows them how Money is essential while they are still young and makes it possible for them to learn the essential qualities of responsibility for finances at an early age. These skills in budgeting pave the way for further financial literacy.

    Math in real world for children demonstrates why they learn such mathematics and engages them to understand such mathematics better. Children will develop a strong understanding of the relevance and application of mathematical concepts in their daily lives using math in real life scenarios to create the necessary base for further advancement.

    Temperature and Weather

    Speak about changes in temperature — those happening during the day and in different seasons. Assist them in recording temperatures, highs, and lows and their observation patterns. This activity also strengthens mathematics education by teaching students to gather, evaluate, and analyze information, leading to another skill—understanding statistics. Kids can also make simple graphs and charts that will help them understand the use of weather data as a mathematical representation.

    Planting and Gardening

    Evaluate plant spacing, developmental rates, and observational data on plant growth during time. Talk about counting the plant’s height, seeds sprouting time, and land size for various plants. Through gardening, one can relate math to the natural world as maths in the real world is applied in simple tasks such as planting and watering plants, where you are expected to achieve specific results at certain periods.


    When cooking, little kids wonder about how much math is involved. So, allow your child to get closer with kitchen math: three pounds of tomatoes, four ounces of ice cream, one teaspoon of ground coffee, or 1/2 ounce of cinnamon. How much is the 1–1 proportion?

    Moreover, when it comes to cooking, most recipes require you to have math skills, so this is an excellent opportunity to connect mathematics in the real world. Ratios, proportions, and basic math operations in cooking make sense.


    A good presentation of math in fundamental topics using relatable examples helps children understand that this field is essential for their future. Compared to other approaches, this provides more chances of attracting children’s attention and inspiring interest in mathematical studies.

    You may also register your child with Brighterly’s online math classes for further math real world problems practice. This recommendation is for kids to learn more effectively when they are in a relaxed manner. Your children will benefit from being made to use everyday language, math in the real world word problem sheets and worksheets, and engaging activities.

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