Mathematics

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Question: 
Algebra used in daily life?

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Asked by lechuck

One of the most common excuse I used in high school was, "When am I ever going to use this in my life?"

I don't believe we ever use most higher educational math subjects, such as algebra, in our daily life. Generally all the math I need to know is, "If I buy this, how much money will I have left in my bank?". Most of the time, computers do that thinking for me…

If you disagree: when would the average person, like myself, use algebra, or for that fact, any other subject you learn in grades 10-12?


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    Peter Blomert
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    Peter BlomertThu, 14 Feb 2008 19:31:32 -0000

    As i don't no any average person, it is difficult to explain dis-/agreement here.

    I think, with math it is like with many important issues in the modern world: Actually math makes the world go round, but in normal life you often choose to ignore that - an you get away with that, normally.
    No computer-graphic is working without algebra, projective geometry and stuff,
    no highway-exit can be build without using tons of calculus,
    no complex business will get away without lots of algebra of matrices, cost calculation etc.

    So, you normally don't have to be able to understand the technology beneath the surface of your car - but in case of a breakdown in the northern territories you better do!

    On a deeper level we can start to differ between math (the stuff you missed to learn at school) and mathematics, which is quite another story: While math being a bunch of tools to deal with the outer world, mathematics, abstract mathematics is THE structured way of thinking - the ultimate way of brain-jogging. You want to learn to think? Train your brain with mathematics! You want to find the flaws in your opposites thoughts? Train your brain with logic and analytic thinking as the old mathematicians did!
    As mentioned above - you can live a rich live without ever hearing about math - but why, when doing math can be the ultimate fun and a wonderful straightforward approach to understand the world and its innermost connections?

    But maybe this only a German approach:
    "So that no more with bitter sweat
    I need to talk of what I don't know yet,
    So that I may perceive whatever holds
    The world together in its inmost folds,
    See all its seeds, its working power,
    And cease word-threshing from this hour."
    (Goethe, Faust)

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    mcaers
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    Michelle CaersThu, 17 Apr 2008 13:52:51 -0000

    lechuck, I have two words for you….home renovation. While I was doing my home renovation I used all my highschool math skills. Geometry, fractions, budgeting, forecasting, multiplying and dividing…etc etc. Home renovation is about a lot more measuring and refining and measuring and refining than it is about paint. And even the paint you have to measure to mix, measure to determine how many cans you need to buy, depending on the colour it will change the square footage of coverage, you may need two coats or in the case of red paint 7 coats of paint! This leads to going over budget so you have to economize on other things. (I did learn an important lesson get tinted primer!)

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    lechuck
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    Adam KoshThu, 17 Apr 2008 13:59:39 -0000

    I couldn't agree more. One of the few math subjects I really excelled in was Geometry and Fractions. I spent a lot of my childhood helping my dad insulate fishing boats. As you can imagine, boats don't have square dimensions like house, so there was a lot of Geometry involved.

    A few arguments:

    Home reno might be a daily thing for a tradesman, but not for the average person.
    Plus, that's not algebra. Algebra is a whole different ball game in my mind.

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    Andrew Brown
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    Andrew BrownThu, 17 Apr 2008 14:00:28 -0000

    The Egyptians

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    lechuck
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    Adam KoshThu, 17 Apr 2008 14:07:34 -0000

    I get that algebra is used for many many great things. The world wouldn't be the same without it. I get it. What I am getting at as a person who knew he wouldn't be using math for any greater reason then budgeting my grocery bill, planning my financial future, or basic home renos (as Michelle stated), what good is forcing me, or many other students to fail miserably at Algebra and other over complicated math subjects that I'll never get. Nor really care to.

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    Andrew Brown
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    Andrew BrownThu, 17 Apr 2008 14:16:55 -0000

    I didn't see it as a waste of time.
    I think its important to validate what you can and can't do.

    But the practical use is most likely not going to apply to all.
    I can't think of the last time I whipped out a Matrices to open a can of soup.

    Now with schooling anyway you don't have to take the hard math if you don't want to.

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    Vahid
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    Vahid MasrourTue, 29 Apr 2008 05:22:32 -0000

    Yep, though it hurts to accept the fact, most of the math learned in high-school is unnecessary. It tries to go too deep, does not relate to everyday life enough, let alone being pertinent to real life experience.

    Some more home finances and accounting classes would have been far more useful in my life than the more advanced stuff i learned in high school. And don't get me started on geometry. There are, of course, jobs that do require very advanced math skills and operations, and high-school better prepare those young men for their lives… the rest can be learned in college.

    Reasoning, logic, analysis and scientific method should be taught to everyone of course, because everybody should have those skills, but advanced maths doesn't seem to pay off right now for most people. Reading skills, on the other hand, we need LOTS more, since reading is the gate to learning everything else.

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    oLahav
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    Oren LahavThu, 15 May 2008 15:54:36 -0000

    First of all, I think a lot of the math you learn in high-school is important and useful. I disagree with some of the teaching methods that promote intelligence rather than hard work, but that's off-topic.

    Algebra is actually one of the more useful parts of math. And sure, your computer, calculator, or smart friend can probably figure out things faster for you, but what if you didn't have those? How would you figure out the value of your car if it's depreciating at 20% a year after 5 years? How would you know whether you should invest in a 5% $200 bond or 2 6% $100 ones with more risk? How would you figure out how much money will be left in your back account after your make x purchases on credit with r% interest and have to pay it back within y days?

    Algebra isn't calculus, it won't help you build bridges or become a rocket scientist without more mathematical concepts. Algebra is the bread and butter of everything- how to create equations and solve them using variables. And this stuff is useful, maybe not every day, but if you look hard enough you'll find example of it everywhere.

    One more thing- How is ANYTHING you learn in high-school relevant to your every day life afterwards? I don't use any world history, or essay-writing, or my knowledge of cellular processes on a daily basis, do you?

    High-school stuff is important for one reason- it opens doors to a huge amount of other topics you can study in higher education and work with during your adult life. If you decide to close some of those doors because you don't like them, it's your choice.

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    awasthi_sudhir
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    Sudhir AwasthiFri, 30 May 2008 05:03:31 -0000

    Very well said…I think so that each year of schooling is a part of learning curve…where a foundation is laid…though the foundation areas maybe different for each student, which actually decide the future course of your career.

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    Coach Pate
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    Clifford PateFri, 27 Jun 2008 20:46:08 -0000

    It isn't what you learn, it's that you learn how to think. Your right, your boss doesn't hand you an algebra problem, but he does give you a problem to solve and you have to be able to solve it. I believe math is by far the best subject to teach kids HOW to think. The logical, problem solving skills that are required to solve a math problem are closer to the problems you'll solve at your job on a daily basis.

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    ANINDAA
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    ANINDAASat, 16 Aug 2008 18:00:32 -0000

    WHAT WE LEARN WE ALWAYS DONT USE THAT FOR RUNNING OUR DAILY ROUTINE . THOUGH WE DONT LEARN ALGEBRA FOR COUNTING HOW MUCH MONEY WE HAVE LEFT BUT IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR DEVELOPING THE PROPER UNDERSTANDING FOR THAT . HIGHER MATHEMATICS CAN BE REFFERED TO AS THE MOTHER OF ALL THE SCIENCE SUBJECTS . WE DEFINITELY CANT IGNORE IT.

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    kir360
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    Kiran VargheseThu, 16 Oct 2008 16:28:58 -0000

    As a common man, there is the application of algebra to a great extend although you might not want to do the "low level stuff" such as integration and differenciation. what i mean is, you just doesn't note the area equation you use-or the volume equation- or even the velocity- all these come out of algebra or calculus. so i think you're not knowing where all you use maths…
    from simple calculations to logcal assumptions you're using maths!

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    sammi_m
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    sammi merschWed, 18 Feb 2009 19:49:43 -0000

    im doin a project on algebra with my bestfriend kayla :))

    she says we should keep albebra but i think it shouldnt be requierd for graduation because not every job need to know math just the simple seps we need more reading in are education not math like to be a teacher yes your goin to need math but to help dissabled children with there everyday life its not so needed

    -sammi

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    cecillet
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    kayla ongstadWed, 18 Feb 2009 19:54:13 -0000

    ok so im doing this debate for middle and high school and its called algebra should be required for high school im for and my freind sammi is against but we use math almost everyday.To figure things out you shouldent ban algebra because in high school if you forget to use algebra i high school you probably would have to take spceial classes or something and if or once you get out of high school you should be getting redy to get a house and a job if you dont already have one and those all require math/algebra. a lot of people should be for becuase you need math/algebra your hole life..!

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    divya shravs
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    sravaniMon, 14 Dec 2009 07:11:07 -0000

    algebra is one of the most useful part in our life

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    nathan209
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    nathan charltonTue, 09 Mar 2010 17:38:36 -0000

    yes we use math in everyday life , athough no where close to what we are forced to learn in school. I believe the fundamentals are inportant but i also believe that , advanced mathmatics takes alot of tasks that are simple and turn them into something more complicated , when something that does not have to be complicated gets complicated then mistakes are made , when very easily the simple way would have worked and the error would have been avoided… years ago before the invention of computers and calculators advanced mathmatics I believe would have been an important subject to require but then again so was sewing.. not alot of people know how to sew now but if they want to learn to they take a class IF they want to . knowing that yes it could prove usefull should a power outage last more than a couple months

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    mridu132000
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    mridu132000Sat, 06 Oct 2012 15:25:58 -0000

    algebra is very very important in our life

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