Why Do I Need to Learn Algebra?

Poor ol’ algebra; no one ever asks, “Why do I have to learn how to read? When will I ever use this anyway?” But almost everyone has wondered, “Why do I need to learn algebra? When will I ever use this?” Well, as it turns out, there is actually a point to it.

We all know that we need to learn basic arithmetic in order to solve everyday problems. Things like cutting a recipe in half or balancing a bank account all require math. Have you ever looked at Office Depot’s coupons? Often times, there are two to choose from. One is for 20% off one item and the other one gives $10 back when you spend at least $50. I always have to stop and do the math in order to know which one gives me the best deal.

But why do we need to learn algebra? At first, it doesn’t seem to have any point or purpose. In pre-algebra you are taught things like the Proper Order of Operations and the Distributive Property of Multiplication, but you aren’t always told why you need to learn those things. Later, you are taught how to solve a quadratic equation, but again, it’s not clear why you need to solve it. It isn’t until Algebra II that it all comes together and makes sense, but that’s a long time to wait. That’s like spending 12 years learning how to read, but waiting until you’re a senior in high school before getting to read a book.

You see, in Algebra II, you are given story problems that can only be solved with algebra. You need to write your own algebraic equations in order to find the answer. Once the equation is built, you just apply all the different skills you learned in Algebra I, and you'll get your answer.

The reason you need to learn basic Algebra in high school isn’t just to graduate or score well on the SAT, although those are two very good reasons. It's so when you enroll in college you already have the ability to solve algebraic equations. Your instructor will teach you how to apply that knowledge to your particular field of interest. For example, if you are studying to be a civil engineer, then you will need algebra to calculate how tall a concrete foundation needs to be in order for a building withstand an earthquake. A nurse will need algebra to calculate the proper dose of medication, and business majors will need algebra to solve things like compound interest or depreciation. In fact, most college degrees require you to learn algebra; it’s what professional people use in high paying jobs.

So, the next time you hear a student ask, “Why do I need to learn Algebra?” Tell that student it’s the one skill that can make the difference between a blue collar job and a white collar job. If you prefer to work in a comfortable, air conditioned office, instead of outside in the heat and rain, then algebra is your ticket. And if you don’t want to be stuck in an office, then algebra can help you become a Traffic Engineer, a Surveyor, or a Soil Scientist. With algebra you can earn a college degree and become anything you want to be. Without it, you limit your career options and possibly your full potential. The way I see it, Algebra is as important as learning how to read. But the good news is that you can learn algebra quickly and easily with the Learn Math Fast System!