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Algebra bears major importance throughout youth and adulthood by providing mental assistance in solving daily tasks quicker, a backbone to other school related subjects, aid in understanding the mathematical work done by others, and by making the obtainment of a job easier along while improving work performance. For students, making algebra second hand nature for them is useful throughout other subjects such as calculus, chemistry, statistics, and literature. In the career field, algebra is a common requirement for many white-collar occupations. Whether it is or is not needed for the job, it definitely improves chances at getting an interview. Even just a basic understanding of the workings behind algebra creates opportunities and improves production in the workforce.
As algebra is heavily involved in many occupations, it is common that the job of someone is to perform calculations for someone else, so being able to comprehend math to this level reduces confusion between people on a professional topic. It has been proven that critical thought applied to algebraic work creates a complex understanding that can be integrated into other actions. Thus, algebra seeps into school, work, and daily life. The common misconception regarding algebra is that it is barely involved in circumstances outside of the academic and working setting. Every choice however requires consideration, and the ability to quickly observe, analyze, and decide not only assures a more positive outcome, but it is rooted in algebraic thought. Money is constructed off of a numerical and analytical foundation. To understand algebra is to excel in finance, and saving money, making investments, or taking out loans are common throughout adulthood. Figuring out the lowest cost for a product or paying off interest are examples of tasks that require mathematical comprehension. Errors in finance can be heavily consequential. Therefore, it is imperative to confirm the accuracy of any calculations made. Converting money for other countries, figuring out spending plans, and implementing time management skills into decision making are all done with the fundamentals of algebra kept in mind. Aside from money, algebra proves to be useful when changing and figuring out recipes in the kitchen or when constructing and landscaping with different measurements and areas.
The constant engagement between algebra and the personal sector of life through vacations, handling money, preparing a meal, and even making a simple decision debunks the theory that it has no affiliation with people outside of employment. Many careers and jobs revolve around frequent applications of algebra. It is involved in fitness, business, engineering, architecture, medicine, cooking, and teaching. These occupations center around algebra, but even jobs that are not as mathematics oriented require a basic understanding of it. Thus, algebra is needed just to increase the possibility of obtaining a job. Once settled in a working environment, it is still important to perform well and maintain a working status. In business or finance, “algebraic equations using time and interest rates as variables help bankers, lenders and financial planners calculate loan payments, the value of savings accounts and certificates of deposits at a future point in time and the gain or decline on investments”.
Any career involving banking and finance is centered around numerical talent and having knowledge of mathematics beyond algebra. Architecture is another general career field that relies on algebra. Understanding weight, height, length, width, proportions and the interaction between them all is essential for designing blueprints and construction plans. Physical and fitness training is also based off of algebra as fitness trainers “show clients proper exercise techniques, design exercise programs, provide information and set goals for weight loss and other indicators of fitness”. The medical field can consist of filling out prescriptions, understanding concentrations of medication, managing drugs, and detecting illnesses which all require mathematical application. Heart doctors hold the responsibility of measuring “cardiac output, or the volume of blood the heart can pump, by using algebraic equations based on the oxygen levels in the body and heart rate”.
Engineering is also extremely dependent on algebra. Civil engineers for example, “rely on algebra to calculate how much weight roads and structures can hold and their capacity to withstand high winds, earthquakes, snow and other elements”. In general, jobs relating to STEM align their expectations with mathematical and scientific talent, highlighting how algebra is as much necessary by itself as it is in the form of a foundation for concepts elaborated upon it.
Algebra is unavoidable in the workforce. Working in animation requires talent in computers and software, working in fashion requires algebraic capability for precise measurements and designs, and working with weather goes hand in hand with mathematics, physics, and earth science. Almost all careers will involve algebra, and if they do not, having it as extra knowledge would make the job easier. Algebra is incorporated into everyone’s daily life and career. People are constantly working for others, so it is beneficial having an analytic mind when making sure that the work being done for or by someone else is being done correctly. It bears resemblance to the idea where being able to count helps in making sure the right amount of change was given at a store. Politicians, bankers, pharmacists, and plenty of other professionals are regularly proceeding with calculations that affect other people. Even if the math someone is doing for someone else is simple and quick, algebra allows double checking and understanding it to be simpler and quicker. Algebra is not the only subject though it is one of the most important ones. Calculus, statistics, chemistry, physics, and computer science are some concepts directly affiliated with algebra. They require a more than general comprehension of equations, graphs, charts, measurements, functions, and key algebraic principles.
Another common misunderstanding about algebra is that it is not needed for literature or history, but logical reasoning can “enable students to better understand poetry”. It creates easier interpretation of rhythm, patterns, and the meter of poetry; algebra is also applied to history when analyzing data, information, statistics, and geography. Algebra is even inevitable in the arts as “musical rhythm often follows complex mathematical series” and photography requires the ability “to calculate shutter speed, focal length, lighting angles, and exposure time”.
It is very often that a student questions the value of algebra and why it is being taught in the first place. The controversy over this subject resulted from the typical response to those students of algebra not being important past school and its expansion into the opinion that algebra was more harmful than helpful. The argument describing algebra as destructive is based off of the possibility that its difficulty leads to a loss of educational motivation in America’s youth. Though, aside from a math course, “studies have identifies individual, familial, social, and academic predictors of disengagement in youth”. There are plenty of factors that contribute to the effort students will put into academics, so immediately drawing the conclusion that algebra is to blame removes reasoning from creating a solution to that problem. The issue with student motivation and dropout rates will not be fixed by the eradication of algebra from the curriculum. Society is developing towards a state where “all modern technology relies on mathematics and algebra”. Algebra will remain important whether it is taught or not, emphasizing how it is essential that the educational systems maintain an acknowledgement of its importance.
Instead of discussing whether or not algebra should be removed, focus should be drawn to methods of teaching. A study that took place in California State University in 2013 drew data from comparing two college algebra course being taught with different methods; one class was called a “flipped class” where pupils would “watch online video lectures before coming to class, complete a pre-assessment assignment, and then engage in a classroom discussion of the material facilitated by the instructor”. The other classroom was conducted traditionally with lectures and note taking. The results showed that “students in the flipped class model scored significantly higher on four of the five major assessments in the course, and on average earned a 7% higher grade in the course”.
Another opposition to algebra is that it seems useless. This judgment is debunked seeing as without algebra, “you are kept from doing many jobs or even entering programs that will get you a job, you lose control over parts of your life and must rely on others to do things for you, you are more likely to make unwise decisions, financial and otherwise, and you will not be able to understand many ideas discussed in chemistry, physics, the earth sciences, economics, business, psychology, and many other areas”. Algebra has been repeatedly proven to provide aid as a job skill, in performing faster and more accurate calculations, as a structure in other subjects, and in financial or common situations.
The question regarding algebra and its necessity originally grew from the belief that it was not going to hold importance past school. However, this conclusion has little to no evidence that is drawn from unlike the stance stating algebra’s position as an asset. Not every career revolves around algebra, but every career intertwines with it to some extent. Since algebra is involved in every subject someone could study or major in, it ultimately finds a place in every field of work. Not every career revolves around algebra, but every career intertwines with it to some extent. People are constantly solving and performing equations for each other and themselves. Mathematics is a part of every day to day routine in both noticeable and unnoticeable ways. Being advanced in algebra thus makes everything a little easier.
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