Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel has heard it everywhere he goes.
Why do I need to learn this math? I'll never actually use it!
Sure, most kids won't follow Urschel's footsteps and study spectral graph theory, numerical PDE's and matrix algebra (just to name a few) at MIT.
But Urschel is out to prove to kids that learning early math is important for their daily lives, and that it can, believe it or not, be fun.
Urschel has teamed up with Texas Instruments to release STEM Behind Sports activities/worksheets that teachers and parents can use with middle school students. There's also a photo contest and prizes to drum up interest, but Urschel said the math is the meat.
"Kids learn these things in math class and they don't know why," Urschel said. "They don't know where they'll use those things. They don't know how that will relate to their daily lives.
"It limits them and it limits their appreciation of mathematics because it's this abstract thing."
One exercise encourages students to model, explore and explain the dynamics of a field goal. Another teaches calculations for measuring ingredients when you're cooking. Another teaches the principle of interest and how to save for your first car.
"You can't teach kids about differential equations and artificial intelligence and stuff. They'll look at you like you're crazy. That's nothing like what they're learning," Urschel said.
"These help your ability to think and how to work through problems. It helps take what you know and apply it to a new problem. It's really an exercise in problem-solving."