I found this posted on FaceBook a few days ago and for some reason, it rubbed me the wrong way. If you’ve been coming around here long enough to know something about me, you know I’m a scientist and you probably think, Algebra came easy to Older Eyes. He doesn’t know what it’s like for the rest of us. Just for the record, Algebra was not my best subject, nor was high school math in general. High school math required too much memorization and provided too little evidence of usefulness to hold my attention. My mathematical inclinations didn’t catch fire until I took calculus, which required not just memorization but understanding. Since then, I’ve taken more math than some math majors. My point is that while I understand that Algebra is not easy for everyone … and that many people have vocations that do not require knowledge of Algebra … the notion that anyone in this technology-based society doesn’t use Algebra … or for that matter, calculus, statistics, finite mathematics and dozens of other mathematical fields … is misguided. Things we use daily, from our vehicles to the techie-toys we have come to depend on were developed using algebra and other higher mathematics and, in fact, their operation depends upon mathematical principles.
So. You can say you hate algebra. You can say it was hard for you and you wonder why you had to take it. You can say, My job doesn’t require knowledge of algebra or higher math. But please DON’T say, I don’t use algebra. You use it every day. There. Now, I feel better.