Americans pride themselves on belonging to an educated society.
In all 50 states, children are required to attend school.
All of these schools are, to an extent, regulated.
Public, private, online and traditional homeschooling are held to basic standards.
To successfully complete high school, for example, a student is expected to be competent in the subjects of reading, writing and mathematics, with extensive knowledge of history and science.
To be accepted into a college program, whether it be from a private, public or technical school, an applicant must have proven competency in these subjects.
On paper, all members of our society who have graduated from high school have the ability to read, write and do basic mathematics.
Those attending college are expected to be even more knowledgeable in these areas.
Sadly, though, this is not always the case.
While most of us can read and write, basic mathematics are forgotten as we begin focusing on careers in other fields.
For example, as a student of public relations, the only form of mathematics I am likely to rely on is statistics.
I do not need to understand advanced calculus, as many of the equations I would use can be conveniently performed by a computer.
With this technological advancement came the degradation of our ability to do basic math.
I came to this realization after watching a recent viral video depicting a woman attempting to solve a math problem many would deem as “basic.”
In the video, a man asks his wife how long it will take him to drive from one city to another.
“If you are traveling 80 miles per hour, how long does it take you to go 80 miles?”
Her answer included a comparison between how quickly a car can move versus how quickly she can run and the number of rotations a car tire can make in a mile.
She also considered how much faster an automatic car is against how fast a manual car is.
I, along with many others, found humor in her struggle to solve the equation.
The concept of speed based on how many miles one can go in an hour is a universal equation.
It is one of the first mathematical concepts we learn when working with real-life equations.
The practical example of this concept is if someone is driving 60 miles per hour, it will take them one hour to go 60 miles.
Why, then, is a simple tweak to the numbers, such as 80 miles per hour rather than 60, so confusing?
After finding her answers so humorous, I asked a few classmates the same question.
I had assumed that they would quickly answer the question and laugh at its simplicity.
That was not the case.
Instead, each person attempted to create an even more difficult equation by adding extra details such as how many miles the driver was traveling in a minute.
In fact, not one of the students I had spoken with could quickly answer the question.
These students are either unintelligent or bad at math.
These reactions, due to our reliance on technology, has caused us to forget the simple equations we were taught so long ago.
Next time you pick up that calculator to do a simple equation, or search online for the answer, try solving it the old fashioned way.