My friends Lin Joy Luber and Debbie Eidelberg shared a post on Facebook that stated, “Well another day has passed. I didn’t use Algebra once. “Many people do not believe excessive mathematics is essential to living a modern life and resent being forced to study math. I get that because I hated 4 years of high school math. Basically, we think we only have to use math to take care of our checking accounts. Mind you, calculators are everywhere and in every size. Subsequently, we do not even have to know how to divide, subtract, add, etc. If you have a small child playing in the back yard with other small children, you are responsible because it is your home. Therefore, you need to count them intermittently to see if the amount remains the same. This isn’t as challenging as it use to be because they are probably all in a bedroom or playroom getting exercise on a laptop or iPhone. When I was a child in antediluvian times, we played Hide and Seek, Cops and Robbers, and climbed apple trees. No one ever knew where we were!
As I said, I hated math. Throughout high school, math pulled my average down. I was in Honors English, Foreign Language, and Social Studies classes, above average science classes, and the lowest level math classes. Then, in college I had to take 3 credits of math as a core requirement, which became my first D on my transcript. Then, 3 credits of Statistics because it was a part of my major in case I wanted to research. I was failing that and begged the professor to give me a D. She consented if I would make a vow never to analyze or compile research. She said I had the ability to reverse the economy, or anything related to math, by 2,000 years. I promised, kept my promise, and received a D rather than an F.
Whether we know it or not, we use math and many times unconsciously. For example, let’s say you’re having trouble figuring out why your significant other is mad at you. You can turn the problem around in your head, working one step at a time and going over what you know, until you find the angle that makes the reason for his/her anger clear. OK, that’s a little far-fetched. Let’s get concrete! Real!! Grocery shopping and we select a product such as cereal and we find that we cannot decide between Cheerios and Rice Krispies. We like them equally. We read the ingredients and nutritional data. Same. However, let’s look at the prices and the amount in each cereal box. Mathematics is going on in our heads! Algebra teaches you how to problem solve.
Do you need an automobile? Can you pay cash? Maybe. Maybe not. Decisions must be made such as car loans, interest rates, and duration of the car loan. Take a vacation in your new car. Calculate distance, routes, figure out the length of a detour. Take a short cut. Not enough money. Use a credit card. Which one? Interest rates? Forget the vacation and work on your new home. Mortgage rate steady or adjustable? Backyard. How much space for landscaping? Can you include and afford rosebushes. flowers, benches, a barbecue grill? You better know some science as well, because some plants flourish in the sun and some wilt away to nothing. Forget the vacation and have a barbecue. Share your new home. Hamburgers. What amount of chop meat do you need for a dozen hamburgers? If I am invited, you better make that a Baker’s Dozen because I have an insatiable appetite, especially for rare hamburgers. Same thing with cookies. Bake triple the amount of what you have calculated because I can make the Cookie Monster look like he’s moderately fasting. Any math here? Yes, and too many telegraphic sentences.
Yes. I hated math. I use it everyday. So do you.