Whether you are a fan of math or not it is clearly an important subject to study. Paying for coffee, knowing how much to tip, and managing a monthly budget would all be pretty difficult tasks to accomplish without a basic understanding of math.
We all start off in school with very basic math principles such as addition and subtraction and later we move on to multiplication and division. But at some point we all move into more advanced math subjects and this usually begins with algebra. In algebra you learn how to manipulate mathematical symbols, which is the basis for engineering, medicine, and economics.
So why do you need to learn algebra in school?
Simply put, it is the foundation for more advanced math classes. Here are four reasons why algebra is so important:
Algebra will help you solve many real world problems, such as comparing the prices of two different products, figuring out how much money you have left to spend after your monthly bills are paid, or figuring out what time you need to leave to meet a friend for coffee. Learning how to think critically, use deductive reasoning, and think logically are all skills that will benefit you tremendously throughout your life.
Algebra is a building block for understanding more advanced subjects like chemistry, physics, and calculus. You learn math skills for the same reason you learn your letters; to lay the foundation for future opportunities and skills.
To succeed in your career you are going to need a college degree and pretty much any worthwhile degree will require some math courses. Not to mention you will need algebra just to earn a high school degree. However, even if you don’t end up attending college you will still need algebra for most job skills.
“But I don’t plan to have a career in math!” Many high school students will make this argument but here is the truth — you have no idea what career you will end up having and whether or not it will utilize algebra. It’s no longer the norm to stay with the same job for twenty to thirty years. Chances are you will end up having many different jobs and algebra will be a useful skill for you to have. The skill sets many jobs require will change over time but mathematics won’t.
Think of all the things you own that make your life easier — all of those are the result of science and math. We need to scientists to make our lives better and fix the world’s problems. Bill Nye the Science Guy says that algebra is the biggest indicator as to whether or not kids will pursue careers in math and science. Even if you think you have no desire for a career in math or science, algebra is still important for learning how to think logically and use critical thinking.