Hell, never gonna use this shit again, wtf?
Why do we teach algebra? The common answer is to pass the test to get the paper to get the job. But why does ever nation on earth value this? Why do nations invest in this education? Why is it valuable?
While the student may never use polynomial expansion again, the processes they learnt are required in order to complete complex tasks. The value added is the intellectual operation and organisational skills learnt through the algebraic journey. Let see how.
When working we need to do something. Many times we get it wrong and will need to undo it. Algebra allows us to use the mathematical sets of addition and multiplication to learn these skills.
In the algebraic journey we review how to do and undo in a broadly general terms. For addition, that is adding (doing), subtracting (undoing) or doing nothing (adding zero). For multiplication, that is multiplying (doing), dividing (undoing) or doing nothing (multiplying by 1). Doing or undoing in maths can be describe as apply an inverse or applying the identity to one side of the equation.
These basic concepts are essential for many jobs.
When solving the algebraic equation, we learn to follow logical steps. The first step is usually isolating the unknown by applying the inverse for addition. The next is typically, solving for the unknown by applying the inverse for multiplication. This is achieved by dividing by the coefficient (the number or expression by the unknown) or multiplying by the coefficient’s reciprocal. The mental discipline of doing, undoing to solve problems through a logical lens is the key learning of the algebraic process.
While this may seem like common sense, as we all know, common sense is not that common. The algebraic journey teachings students not to panic when the cloud of confusion set in. It enables us to think calmly, stay relaxed and use the tools they have to create a logical solution.
We believe that algebra is important and have developed these tools that may help students on this journey.