Algebra: What is it, why should we care?
Algebra. What is it? What good is it? Those are the questions that have plagued the mathematically challenged for decades. When youre talking modern math, it seems that theres them that gets it and them that dont. Over the past couple decades, th...
What is it?
What good is it?
Those are the questions that have plagued the mathematically challenged for decades.
When youre talking modern math, it seems that theres them that gets it and them that dont.
Over the past couple decades, them thats gettin it are in China, in Japan, in German in India, in Korea, in Eastern Europe... Those that aint are in Chicago, in Minneapolis, in Los Angeles, in Hobokan, in Lake Wobegon, and elsewhere in the United States.
The United States has enjoyed a long-envied position as an innovative, industrious nation--fueled by a strong educational foundation in science and math.
At a recent town meeting with legislators, the subject of education and the importance of modern math were discussed.
Lack of a strong algebra program is about as close to educational malpractice as you can get, said Perham Superintendent Tamara Uselman.
This was baffling to the algebra dimwits in the room.
Those of us who struggled to muster passing grades in algebra, could scarcely recall a time we actually deployed algebra skills in everyday life.
But algebraic problem-solving is key to many disciplines, and American students arent stacking up.
How do we prove to the skeptics that algebra is important?
We need some concrete, real-life examples of how people in the area have used algebra to function in the workplace and the home.
We put a call out to the Perham-Dent school faculty for some thoughts on algebra. We received this from Perham High School Math teacher Jeff Morris:
Algebra and its applications teach students to identify and solve problems using organizational skills. Applications taught in algebra are essential to problems that have to be solved in business, engineering, electrical work, construction, health occupations, mechanics and many other various occupations.
For example, an electrician continually uses algebra formulas to determine unknown quantities needed to complete installation. Other examples are slopes used as pitches in roofing and the Pythagorean Theorem used in creating right angles in construction work.
Now, its your turn.
Wed like to hear from anybody on how theyve used algebraic formulas in their lives--profession, skill, home or hobby.. Or, if you just would like to make a comment on Algebra.
Please write up a quick example, with your name and phone number and send it to us by fax or email:
Algebra for Dimwits
Sorry, no prizes or winning entries for this contest.
But, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have enlightened some readers on the importance of algebra at a day-to-day level. And, indirectly, you may help save America from total economic decay.
To conclude the discussion for this week, heres some math humor that has been circulating around cyberspace recently--author unknown.
Teaching Math In 1950
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?
Teaching Math In 1960
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
Teaching Math In 1970
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?
Teaching math in 1980
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
Teaching Math today
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)