Math Interviews
Angie Harding

   The following is an assignment I gave to my students.

I would like you to interview your Mom and/or Dad to see the importance math plays in their daily lives. I would like you to record the answers to the following questions and then to write a well-constructed paragraph on what you learned.

  1. Where do you work?
  2. What is your job title?
  3. Briefly explain your job.
  4. What skills in math are important to your job.
  5. Please give examples of when you use these skills.
  6. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being low and 10 being high), how important is mathematics to your job? Why?
  7. Problem solving is a life-skill. When do you problem solve in your job?
  8. What do you see as important in the study of mathematics?
  9. Why is the study of mathematics important in school?
Student #1
My Dad works for Nestle Ice Cream. His job title is a Distributor. His job is the Sale and Service of Nestle and Haagan Daz Ice Cream. He uses skills in this job such as multiplication, percentage, addition, subtraction, and division. He uses these skills taking a case cost for a product, dividing case quantity into price, multiplying profit percentage into cost for retail price, subtracting retail price from cost to get net profit per unit. Mathematics is important to his job. He rates it a 10. The more you know your math for customers means more sales and more money! My dad uses problem solving all the time. Wrong product, computer will not work, etc.

Student #2
In my interview, I interviewed my mom. My mom works at Wheaton Chevrolet Oldsmobile. She is known as a vehicle management accounting clerk. Very briefly explained, this job consists mainly of doing car deals and putting them into the accounting system. The skills Mom uses in her job include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, problem solving, decimals, and percentages. She says that she uses these skills all day as her job is almost pure math. On a scale of one to ten (one being low and ten being high), Mom rates the importance of math to her job as a ten because as previously stated, her job is practically all math. When she uses problem-solving skills, she uses them to figure out formulas to pay out banks, financials, etc. Mom says that she believes that the basics in math, such as the operations, are most important in the study of math, because even complicated equations consist of simple skills. I, myself, share with her this belief.

Student #3
My mom works at Ralph McKay Industries Inc. Her job title is Accounting/Payroll Supervisor. She is responsible for payroll for plant staff (about 55 people); assistant to the division accountant; responsible for various schedules and reports on monthly, semi-annual and annual basis; oversees general office procedures and accounting entries. The basic skills are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and a lot of formulas. She also uses logic, and accounting principles. She uses formulas when someone needs back-pay, complicated formulas, when calculating depreciation. On a scale of one to ten she would say it would be ten because it's a part of everything she does. When correcting posting errors, payroll errors, just about everything she does requires some level of problem solving. She thinks it's important for people to know the basics and when they are older maybe banking and budgeting could be compulsory subjects along with examples of practical application for the knowledge. Because it's a life skill, you will need math for shopping, filing tax returns, banking, budgeting, and maybe a job. You need it for almost everything. This interview made me realize that math is a lot more important when you are older. If you're looking for a job, you'll find most require math. You can't always use a calculator, so you should know the basics. My mom's job is almost all math. When I asked her about her job, she told me, "I use it when I answer the phone!" I was surprised that it was used so much. I knew it was used a lot, but I didn't know it was used for so many things.

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