“When will I ever use this?” is one of the questions statistics teachers dread most. The truth is that it is actually difficult to find a job that doesn’t use statistics in some way.
Statistics are a daily component of business and stock trading, as well as investment. Want to win the lottery? Careful review of the winning statistics will tell you that it’s probably a better idea not to play at all. From the cost of your monthly insurance to loan interest, “When will I use statistics?” can be answered with nearly every major monetary decision in life or business.
Marketing and public relations jobs rely on accurate statistics to gauge how effective a particular product or advertising campaign is. By understanding a target demographic and their habits, it’s possible to budget much more precisely. Having statistical data ready for review is one way that businesses can attract potential investors. Numbers are the best proof that a business concept has a real shot at long-term success. With thousands of dollars at stake, knowledgeable statisticians are vital to corporations.
Part of the answer to the “When will I use statistics?” question concerns the future. Statistics offer a glimpse into what the future may look like and help inform key decisions in the present. For instance, political candidates rely on statisticians to provide them with insight on how they should campaign. By looking at the numbers, it’s possible to determine whether an area tends to vote more liberally or conservatively. Even sports teams employ statistics experts to provide valuable analysis on team strategy for upcoming games.
Statistics also play a part in the health and safety of a community. They can tell scientists and officials how likely a certain event is (such as an earthquake or tornado), and what sort of impact it would leave behind. Statistics are vital to the medical field as well, where they’re used to predict and track the spread of disease. By looking at disease statistics related to genetics and environmental factors, patients can even get an idea as to how at-risk they are for certain illnesses.
When a student asks, “When will I use statistics?” it’s worth noting that even college decisions can be improved by number theory. Graduation and post-graduation employment rates might help make a difficult decision a little bit easier. A strong understanding of statistics will help students see when data are being misrepresented or misinterpreted so they can make sound decisions based on the data directly.
Want to do more to incorporate math into the classroom? Try these fun games that will get students excited about math again.