why do we need to know algebra
You should learn algebra, and master it, if you want to be successful; algebra is essential. WeБve all heard the mythologies for not having to learn algebra from bored high school students and the New York Times. However, here is a look at a different set of myths concerning why you should learn algebra. You should study algebra because. math is inherently beautiful
You should study algebra because. it will help you develop critical thinking skills You should study algebra because. youБll use it directly on the job It doesnБt take long to figure out that these myths arenБt fully satisfying. Most students will inquire as to the purpose of learning algebra and the vast majority of them will be given an answer that does not provide purpose and context but rather underscores to the student that even БweБ (the parents, the educators, etc. ) donБt know why we teach algebra. Math is beautiful said few high school students ever.
IБm going to guess that the only people who say that math is beautiful are high school or college math teachers. Seriously, telling students that they should study algebra because itБs beautiful will only serve to further disillusion them with the very thing we want them to learn. Yes, math is beautiful but that isnБt why we should learn algebra. Critical thinking skills are a basic skillset that is developed in a variety of ways. Learning to read develops critical thinking skills. Reading challenging books develops critical thinking skills. Learning to БreadБ music and play an instrument develops critical thinking skills. Learning logic and rhetoric develops critical thinking skills. I think you are starting to get the picture. Learning algebra does have limited value in sharpening critical thinking skills but that is hardly a good enough answer to the studentБs question of Бwhy must I learn this?
Б For the final myth, letБs be honest; how many of us actually use algebra directly on the job? IБve spoken with carpenters who regularly use trigonometry and many who only use basic arithmetic and are successful carpenters. Most students who have even a vague idea of what industry they want to work in will already know if advanced algebra will be required in that line of work. There are some careers out there that rely on algebra everyday and if a student is interested in those careers, focusing on algebra is a must. But for everyone else, saying БyouБll use it at workБ, while occasionally true, is an easily spotted myth. 1. Speed: We can directly use algebra to solve problems more quickly and easily than we could do otherwise. For example, a simple algebraic equation can help you make a recipe smaller or when youБre doing home repairs. 2. A Building Block: Algebra can serve as a building block that we can use to learn more advanced math like statistics, calculus, etc. and learn more advanced subjects, like physics, chemistry, etc.
Experts say that members of the next generation could change jobs 30-40 times throughout their career, so you donБt know if you will need some of the algebra you learn or not. Learning algebra is a life skill beneficial for upward mobility. 3. So that we can understand and critically evaluate the math done by others such as reporters, political candidates, insurance salesmen, bank loan officers, etc. People will always use the skills they have to succeed and while you could succeed in some careers without understanding algebra, understanding algebra will make it easier to succeed. Algebra is an important life skill to have if you want to do things quicker, be able to transition easier from career to career, and avoid being taken advantage of by people who can БtwistБ the numbers in their favor.
Part three of a four part series on math. Part 1 Бб Part 2 Бб Part 3 Бб Part 4 Бб I highly recommend the book "The Brain That Changes Itself" by Dr. Norman Doidge. As with any skill, there are multiple ways to meet your goal. You don't have to lift weights to be strong, but it is one way to get there. Math is a very good way to grow your brain and your mental discipline. My intent was to make a case for why it is important and give a potentially new perspective to make it more appealing to learn; not necessarily looking to convince or coerce. Algebra becomes fun once you get the hang of it, like solving puzzles. It clearly has multiple purposes and is a step toward so many other skills in life. It wasn't my best subject in school, but I have since learned to really enjoy teaching it and appreciate how it has translated into other ares of my life. Hope you will give it a chance to do the same for you.
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