When it comes to arithmetic, it’s necessary to prove its value and practicality to students. Thankfully, many real world applications exist for students to practice counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. If only it were that easy to engage students in other essential math subjects.
We've all heard students say, “Why do I need to learn algebra? I'll never use this!” Actually, algebra is useful in numerous ways, particularly specific career paths in engineering, science, medicine, cooking, and education. These career fields may require students to pass licensing exams that include algebra. Even more crucial is how these careers require algebra to assess proper amounts of material that is needed to ensure the health and safety of other people. Algebra is used to better lives with shelter, infrastructure, medical care, and nutrition.
Algebra is a skillset that develops students’ critical thinking skills, which is one of the most important skills needed as they move on from their educational lives to their working lives. Drawing those connections in school can feel conceptual rather than practical. Showing students concrete career paths that utilize the skillsets found in algebra can help bridge the gap between theory and application.
Of course, some students may exclaim that they don’t plan on entering those career fields. This is also a good time to remind them that they will have many careers and they don’t know yet what the future holds. Plus, the basic elements of algebra can help them develop skills that will help them succeed in any career or task they encounter.
- Algebra helps people work through problems faster and turn complicated equations into simple ones.
- Algebra can act as a base for learning more complex mathematics, which will allow for personal and career growth.
- Algebra allows critical understanding of calculations we find in the news, on labels for medications, and how various technologies work.
Algebra can be intimidating for any learner. Drawing conclusions up front about how essential a skill it is for all students in their present and future will help engage students and put them on the path to great success.