# Inspiring Math Learning through Data

Blog | July 18, 2024 | Share on:

## Let’s Talk Science can help your students overcome math anxiety by making it relevant and practical.

Many students (and lots of older people too!) have math anxiety – feelings of fear, stress and worry in situations involving math. Students may experience a racing heart, sweating, knots in the stomach, difficulty focusing, and a desire to escape the situation -- the body’s response to anxiety. Perhaps you have even experienced math anxiety yourself.

We at Let’s Talk Science love showing people that math isn’t scary. We know it is an essential tool for life. Because math is foundational to our understanding of the world around us, everyone can benefit from some basic mathematical knowledge. Math can help solve problems, optimize performance, and interpret complex data to answer important questions.

### How can we engage students in math?

Linking math and data is a wonderful way to reduce anxiety and enhance learning while meeting curriculum expectations. At Let’s Talk Science, two major projects use math skills to analyze data from scientific experiments.

Living Space (Grades 6-9), which will re-launch with updated lessons in the fall, asks students to measure the temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels in their classroom, and compare them to optimal levels. They can then make data-driven decisions about the conditions and develop a plan to improve their classroom environment. The final step is to present their findings. Math skills are essential at every step.

The Lunar Rover Research Challenge (Grades 6-9), involves monitoring, measurement, risk assessment, and tracking, using – you guessed it –math.

Often students are so engaged in these projects, they don’t even know they’re learning math!

### Math is everywhere

Aside from data collection and analysis in projects, Let’s Talk Science has many resources that highlight how math is hiding in plain sight in our everyday lives. Take for example cooking and baking; this backgrounder about math and cooking discusses all of the measurements, conversion, fractions, ratios, accuracy, temperature and time, and data management needed to be a successful cook. The message: it takes math to make great tasting food!

Sports is another area steeped in math. This backgrounder on math and sports uses the Pythagorean theorem to analyze a three-point shot in basketball and explores the fascinating world of baseball statistics. Another resource explains how ice technicians use math to keep the ice ready for hockey.

Other resources worth checking out that underline the relevance of math: “Buying power: the math behind money,” “Math and your dream business", “Modelling a total solar eclipse,” and “Climate math.”

### Careers with math

To emphasize the message of real-world relevance, the Let’s Talk Science website is filled with profiles of professionals who use math in their everyday work. They include a scientist who uses computer simulations and math to research how animal behavior changes when their environment changes, a businessperson who uses his training in math and computer science in the financial industry, and an epidemiologist who uses math to monitor the patterns and trends of infectious diseases.

With all these and many more resources available, you’ll be ready to inspire your students to overcome math anxiety and set them on a path to a bright future.