Mathematics for Teaching Geometry Guest Post: Real World Uses of Geometry

Guest Post: Real World Uses of Geometry

“When am I going to use this?” This question has been asked in almost every geometry class at one point or another. Many students introduced to advanced mathematics, such as geometry and trigonometry, will deem it worthless. This could not be further from the truth. There are many real world uses for geometry and many careers that require a functional knowledge of it to be successful. If you are currently studying geometry and finding it difficult, consider hiring a professional geometry tutor to assist you in your studies. Also reach out to your teachers and other students to ensure you leave your geometry class with a solid understanding. Using geometry is an essential skill to master.

Every Day Uses of Geometry

Geometry is used throughout many areas of daily life, even if it is not required by your career. John Oprea, author of the book Geometry in the Real World, discusses how many areas of life can benefit from the use of geometry. Below are a few examples of uses of geometry almost everyone will encounter throughout their lives.

  • Lawn Care – When you purchase fertilizer or grass seeds, you may notice that the bags are listed with a square foot measurement. To properly purchase the correct amount of seed or fertilizer, you will need to determine the square footage of your lawn. Without doing some quick geometry you may not purchase enough, or waste money purchasing too much.
  • Purchasing Items – Have you ever moved into a new residence and had the task of filling it with furniture and appliances? Even the seemingly simple task of determining the best use of your area can benefit from basic geometry. How much area will the recliner occupy? Is there room for the seven sectional couches?  Geometric calculations can answer these questions. Purchasing certain appliances also requires geometry. Freezers and refrigerators list their storage capacity in cubic feet. By understanding what a cubic foot means, and calculating an estimate of your household storage needs, you can purchase an appliance that will accurately address your requirements.
  • Household Repairs – A variety of different household repairs can benefit greatly from running some quick geometric equations. Repairing your roof will require you to determine the square footage so you can purchase the appropriate amount of shingles. Any sort of repair involving carpentry will require geometry. You must ensure the corners are perfectly square and the walls are plumb. Geometry will help you determine the design of a new project and how much material you will need.
Careers That Require Geometry

Hundreds of careers require an expert level understanding of geometry in order to be successful. David Eppstein, author of Geometry in Action and writer for the University of California Irvine, states the below careers are heavily involved with geometry.

  • Architecture – From the Pyramids in Egypt to the skyscrapers of New York, geometry is the building block of architecture. Before the ground is broke and foundation is laid, an architect will draft a complete model of the new building. The architect’s primary focus when designing a building is using geometry to create a safe structure. Every angle, and the length of every side, is carefully calculated in accordance with geometric principles to create a structure that can safely withstand the elements and any other hazards it may encounter.
  • Computer Graphics Artist – This modern field of artistry and design merges almost every aspect of geometry in a computer simulation to create a variety of graphics. Cutting edge software allows graphic artists to create visually compelling and aesthetically pleasing graphics that are used in video games, movies and presentations. While the computer is able to handle a lot of the behind the scenes math, a solid understanding of geometry is required to be able to construct the complex models artists create.
  • Video Engineering – How do projectors create a crisp compelling image that fills up the screen? How do directors determine which lens to use for their ideal shots? They employ video engineers to solve these problems. Using their mathematic prowess, they are able to calculate which lens will create the optimal field of view the director is requesting. They also determine the perfect location to setup the projector and the best angle to produce a clear and crisp image on the screen.
Geometry: Well worth Learning

The examples above are only a small sampling of the uses of geometry. It is used every day in a variety of careers and tasks. Applying yourself fully to your geometric studies can prepare you for your ideal career and help solve many problems you may encounter throughout life.
About the Author:

Andrew Boyd is a writer who has enjoyed geometry since he was introduced at an early age. As a hobby carpenter, he uses geometry on a daily basis and loves showing others why it’s such a worthwhile field of study.

Recommended readings:
Fostering Geometric Thinking: A Guide for Teachers, Grades 5-10
Understanding Geometry for a Changing World: NCTM’s 71st Yearbook

 

3 thoughts on “Guest Post: Real World Uses of Geometry”

  1. I’m glad to see geometry has applications in reality. It’s a bummer to study these things and think, oh wow, when am I going to use this again? (I’m remembering a German history course I took in college now).

  2. I’m an architect and obviously I have to use geometry, day in and day out. Math is all around us- even if you don’t like it, it’s how the world works.

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