Math is a wonderfully unique subject. In a sense, math is a project through which we are trying to discover or communicate things as they really are—math is a journey for truth. We want to know and see things accurately. Math offers transferable skills that should be applied to all areas of life because we are all in the business of seeking truth. We see this whenever we solve a basic problem (like 2+2), when we solve for a variable (like 2x = 4), or when we deal with inequalities (like x+2 > 3).
What is 2+2? This is a truth question. We are really asking, “When you have 2 and another 2, what do you truly have?” We want all of our students to be seeking truth. Math is a wonderful way to help them learn to pursue truth and evaluate the world logically.
Solve for x. An equation is a truth claim. 2x = 4 is a statement of fact. When solving for x, students are practicing the pursuit of truth. When they have been given some—but not all—information, they need to work with the facts to uncover additional facts. In this way, they are also being equipped to detect falsehood. If someone were to say 2x = 4 and x=3, they can test this. And they can discover that, no matter how vehemently someone argues that x=3, this is not (and cannot be) the case in reality.
x+2 > 3. In life, there are many inequalities. Students need to be equipped to understand that some ways of living are better than others. I teach my students that knowing God > not knowing Him. That is the truth. I also teach them that honesty > dishonesty. And that eternity > this short life. And the list could go on. Our students need to grasp that one of the big projects of life is related to determining that some things are bigger, better, and more valuable than others. They must be equipped to make those assessments accurately for themselves.
Of course, there is much more that can be observed and understood, but I hope that these ideas help you in the classroom!