"Is Algebra Necessary?"

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by BlueMason, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. warguns

    warguns Member

    I could not disagree with you more. I have two British degrees and I can tell you without a doubt that students at 18 are not mature enough to choose a profession or even a major. A good American liberal arts education is far superior to the typical British degree.

    In any case you cannot become a lawyer with just an LLB. Considerable further training is required. With just an undergraduate degree one can become a physician but not a doctor.
  2. algebra

    algebra New Member

    hey there, i believe math is required in almost all the working areas today ... whether you want to major in economics or do a sales job and for that at least you need to be aware of basic algebraic calculations .
  3. rohirette

    rohirette New Member

    I find it difficult to believe that so many people just can't pass algebra. But I must believe it, it seems.

    How can anyone argue that an adult shouldn't be able to solve for a variable, or graph changing values? Are we assuming that no one will ever need to figure out what the effing 3rd side of a triange is?! Ridiculous.

    An an 8th grader who doesn't know multiplication tables or long division is another problem entirely, NOT a reason to give 21 year olds a pass on being able to do what a significant proportion of 12 year olds can do.
  4. BobbyJim

    BobbyJim New Member

    There are many good comments above on the usefulness of any form of math, and the need to master basic arithmetic before moving to other math topics. I happen to believe that practical applications are necessary in teaching math.

    Maybe our teaching system really is broken. Example: a friend of mine taught middle and high school math for years and didn’t even understand the practical usage of math. One day this person said "I’ve taught trapezoids for years, but can’t think of a single practical use". I asked if the person ever noticed the shape of a highway roadbed, or conversely the shape of a drainage ditch – both trapezoids for practical purposes. "Duh, never thought of that" was the reply. I continued by asking how does the government contractor get paid for the amount of ‘fill material’ used in building a roadway, or the amount of material removed in digging miles of ditches? It is too expensive (not to mention potential dishonesty) to use counting truckloads of material, so using a baseline topology survey and a final topology survey on completion. The amount of material ‘moved’ is then calculated by using a trapezoidal formula to find the difference. Math then provides the amount of payment for the work performed!

    These topology studies were one of the functions in my first fulltime job after graduating from a public high school where I studied algebra, geometry and trigonometry (including practical surveying). While in that job, I also went to a public technical college (part-time) to study electronics & automation where I definitely encountered many practical uses of all forms of math including previously mentioned Boolean Algebra!

    I never considered myself as more than a mediocre math student, but it does take some effort to ‘get it’!
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2012
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    As a side note, I frequently find myself in some social situations where people are trying to solve a social problem and someone will say, "C'mon, solve for X!" Other times times someone might say, "Solve for X in terms of Y!" but there is no Y. Does this make sense to anyone beside me?

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