Mathematics is a very useful and dynamic subject relevant across most areas of studies. The term “Mathematics” is one which has attracted diverse definitions; however, it is a word which in ancient Greek (“Máthēma”) is translated to mean “knowledge, study, learning”. It deals with logical thinking and quantitative calculation. It is a discipline which is as old as man himself. Primitive man started counting by matching objects.

WHY MATHEMATICS?

BRANCHES OF MATHEMATICS

Mathematics can be showcased in various branches, however, chiefly amongst them are Algebra, Arithmetic, Analysis, Statistics, Trigonometry, Game Theory and Combinatorics.

ARITHMETIC: This is the most commonly used form of mathematics. It encapsulates the basics of mathematics with concepts such as counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and exponentiation. Arithmetic is useful in almost every aspect of everyday life. It can be seen in functions such as purchasing of goods or the counting of student participants in a school game show. It is also useful in fields such as engineering, physics, chemistry, biology and business. Below is an example of arithmetic:

1. Subtract 5 from 20.

This simply means removing a group of 5 from a group of 20, which would result in a group of 15 left.

Addition simply means, add a group of 5 to a group of 15, which would result to a group of 20.

ALGEBRA: Algebra consists more of variables. This is that branch of mathematics in which arithmetical operations are applied to abstract symbols rather than specific numbers. Simply put, it is that branch that employs variables as missing parts of an equation, to be found. An example of an algebraic expression is; 2+x= 5. Where “x” is the missing variable to be found.

To solve an algebraic equation, the variable should be isolated to one side of the equation, while the constants(the numbers) would be solved while on the other side, in order to find the missing value of the variable. Other laws of algebra include The Rule of Symmetry, Commutative Property and The Inverse Property of Addition.

According to The Rule of Symmetry, if the value on the left hand side is equal to that on the right hand side, then the one on the right hand side is also equal to that on the left side, and vice versa. For example, if x=y, then y=x.

Meanwhile, The Law of Commutative Property states that adding two values would result in the same answer, regardless of the order in which they are placed. For example, if 5+6=1, 6+5=11.

Lastly, The Inverse Property of Addition is of the opinion that when a number is added to it’s opposite, the result is always a zero. When this happens, the positive sign (+) is rendered inactive, while the negative sign (-) is active. For example, 5+(-5)=0. This is the same as simply subtracting 5 from 5.

STATISTICS: This is concerned with drawing reliable conclusions about large groups, which could be a population, or general events from the behaviour observed in smaller samples or groups capable of representing a portion of the large group. Two types of statistical methods exist. They include Descriptive Statistics and Inferential Statistics.

Descriptive Statistics describes the properties of the sample as well as the population data at large. Meanwhile, Inferential Statistics goes further to use those properties to test hypotheses and draw conclusions. In other words, Inferential Statistics draws conclusions from the statistical analysis carried out by the descriptive statistics.