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High school algebra & math classes aren't "pointless" and people who say "I'll never need to know this in real life" don't know what they're talking about, amirite?

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Mcgee0s avatar Money & Economics
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You haven't adequately explained how you use this kind of math in real life, though.

It's pointless for it to be a mandatory class, especially when more important classes are relegated to either being electives or not taught at all in many schools. Things like basic economics (doing your taxes, budgeting etc...), sex ed (actual sex ed not abstinence only crud), basic first aid, hell at this point I'd argue even a basic tech literacy course is more important than advanced maths to the average individual.

Kasies avatar Kasie Yeah You Are +8Reply

Seems like the people who argue that algebra is useless are the same people who complain about not knowing how to handle their own finances. Weird.

I just calculated the price per square inch for my pizza to check what promotion is the best deal per square inch. I included the crust because I like the crust.

Day 76489 of not using Pythagoras theorem.

teknogreeks avatar teknogreek Yeah You Are +5Reply
@teknogreek Day 76489 of not using Pythagoras theorem.

I use that when building things at home to check for squareness.

SnooStoriess avatar SnooStories Yeah You Are +6Reply

That "darn algebra I didn't need" was useful when I counted inventory at one of my jobs.

I'm 40 and I don't remember how to do algebra because I haven't needed to know since the moment I finished my final exam. It has literally never once in my entire adult life been necessary to know it.

mattyh2433s avatar mattyh2433 Yeah You Are +5Reply

Spent six years doing highest level math in high school, dropped out because of a burnout, and now i'm doing a course for wooden furniture making and design.

I think i can confidently say everything except the basics was pointless for me.

Shusszs avatar Shussz Yeah You Are +5Reply

Nah. I remember but have never used the quadratic equation. I graduated 25+ years ago.

They just teach you to have a good problem solving

Cheytuflyas avatar Cheytuflya Yeah You Are +4Reply
@Apartlavishness And correct problem solving

Without much (any?) reference for what real
world problems the teaching aims to solve. It's more pronounced IMO, it higher level things, like calculus. That has been my high school experience, though that was a long time ago.

@DueBodybuilde Without much (any?) reference for what real world problems the teaching aims to solve. It's more pronounced IMO, it...

Taking physics made story problems so much easier to me to put into equations. Also physics made everything math-y more applicable to my everyday life.

Physics is the best. It provides so much context for so many random math skills.

KilljoyXs avatar KilljoyX Yeah You Are 0Reply
@Cheytuflya They just teach you to have a good problem solving

I have a maths degree and this is what is said to high school students but it's actually far from the truth. The way maths it taught at high school level (I'm in the UK but I've heard the same complaints about US schools) is abysmal and does not make you better at problem solving or even practical application of knowledge.

ambitiouscorners avatar ambitiouscorner Yeah You Are +3Reply
@ambitiouscorner I have a maths degree and this is what is said to high school students but it's actually far from the truth. The...

It's at least partially because so few math teachers have ever done actual math.

My best ever math teacher was a former electrical engineer who got tired of it and switched to teaching. If you've never had to use math to solve complex problems I don't know how you can teach it.

You'd expect a good art teacher to have created art, but we don't expect that with math teachers

@StevenBeercockArt It's at least partially because so few math teachers have ever done actual math. My best ever math teacher was a...

Teachers are unfortunately massively undervalued. The low pay means there just isn't much incentive for someone with those skills to become a teacher.

@Cheytuflya They just teach you to have a good problem solving

Not the way most math teachers in the US teach it, unfortunately.

Too formulaic/memorization based, not enough appreciation for the fact that math has right answers but no right method (technically infinite routes to the correct solution).

I say this as someone with an engineering degree. Math courses were useless for the types of creative problem solving engineering requires.

@Cheytuflya They just teach you to have a good problem solving

In a way, but there are other ways of teaching this too. I took Critical Thinking in college with one of my most respected instructors and it's way different than the "cut and dry" approach that you see with math (a lot more fun and engaging too, unless you're not into writing).

I was always more of a divergent thinker, so I would always struggle with things with only one singular numeric solution like math. Doesn't make math any less important though.

@DueBodybuilde In a way, but there are other ways of teaching this too. I took Critical Thinking in college with one of my most...

You're confusing math with Arithmetic, which is about as far as most people make it in our math curriculums. Math at its core is just formal, logical reasoning. The important part isn't the numeric solution, it's the unquestionably proven method of getting to that solution, of which there are many.

I agree that math is taught poorly in the States, which is why people associate it with "plug numbers into equations". The foundations of our mathematical education should be in logic and proofing, but we only introduce those concepts at a highschool level, and in a very dry and uninteresting way.

@DueBodybuilde In a way, but there are other ways of teaching this too. I took Critical Thinking in college with one of my most...

Critical Thinking was one of the most useful courses I ever took in any school at any level. (I think the other most useful one was Internet Research. That might be just me - researching things on the internet turned out to be a very big chunk of my job - but I think the focus on telling reliable sources from unreliable ones would be useful for the population in general and I try to incorporate that into my own kids' lessons.)

I think this is popular if you're 25+

Everyone should know personal finance and how compounded interest works which requires knowing exponents.

Just wanna say... I've never once in my life looked at a ladder leaning against a wall and wondered how long the ladder is.

They are the same ones who later say "OMG why didn't they teach me this in school". They did, you just weren't paying attention.

Yeah, having other people do my home work did give the relevant experience to become a business owner and leader.

The most important math classes I ever took was predicate logic and finite. Significantly more important for me than Algebra.

I think that you'll actually never use algebra itself at face value. However, algebra does teach you deduction skills you can actually apply to real life situations. It just often isn't taught to make you realize that.

Vic8760s avatar Vic8760 Yeah You Are +3Reply

That's very juvenile language of course, so I'm fine with kids saying it, I just don't understand how adults say things like that. Getting an education and doing well in life are so closely tied together, it always boggles my mind how many adults think they would be ok without having gone through school.

Framie1s avatar Framie1 Yeah You Are +3Reply

‘I won't need math when I'm grown!'
‘No, you won't. But the smart kids will.'

I would have to agree that 13-19 year olds don't know what they're talking about when it comes to an education

Spoken like a middle or high school math teacher that is tired of students asking what's the point of this crap.

The difference of your boss asking you to do something is at least your boss is paying you money for being there. The middle and high school math class the student is only there because they have to be and most teachers suck at teaching math in a way kids can understand.

Finally a true unpopular opinion. As a cg artist, there hasn't been a single time I needed to utilize more than the most basic math, that I couldn't easily look it up.

Sounds like some teachers are settling into the school year nicely.

Depends on your algebra teacher, my didn't teach me anything.

Algebra has tons of real life applications. Knowing how to solve for unknowns is incredibly helpful. Calculus and above is where the practical application ends.

I think that the main point of teaching this is to train your brain for abstract thinking. You just have to treat it as an exercise. As doing push-ups with your brain that will allow it to grow stronger and capable of doing other things that require that power.

I'm a mechanical engineer. While I don't use absolutely every bit of math I learned in college, I still use it pretty regularly.

Especially statistics and trigonometry.

@88080808088 I'm a mechanical engineer. While I don't use absolutely every bit of math I learned in college, I still use it...

I work in finance, and when I went to business school, I remember taking a finance class, and the basic point was "given x rate of growth, how much so you need today to have some different amount in the future" and it was like "oh, this is like, 10th grade math, but it's the entire economy lol"

I agree with you and am sad that this is an unpopular opinion.

@tonywonderslostnut I agree with you and am sad that this is an unpopular opinion.

Algebra is honestly fun for me

The way you move symbols and numbers around is quite strange yet interesting

@tonywonderslostnut I agree with you and am sad that this is an unpopular opinion.

Not that unpopular: OP just has enough recency to this sentiment (I.e. is young I suspect), that it serves mentioning to them.

Milkzeys avatar Milkzey Yeah You Are +2Reply

I agree with you but I can understand why a high schooler would think that. In 90% of careers you don't really need to know abstract math in order to succeed, therefore it's reasonable to see why some may consider it completely unimportant for their futures.

Algebra is definitely useful. As is statistics. Calculus is useless for nearly everyone.

Iapetus-11s avatar Iapetus-11 Yeah You Are +2Reply

Anyone else notice he didn't actually give tangible use for algebra?

@nimblewittedodysseus Anyone else notice he didn't actually give tangible use for algebra?

Say you have a little child, and they get a fever, so you go buy child's Tylenol and the dosage says: give 5 ml per 40 lbs. (which it does), and you're child weighs… 35 lbs. how much Tylenol do you give them?

I mean I realize not everyone has a kid or uses Tylenol or whatever but that's a real world time I had to use algebra.

@nimblewittedodysseus Anyone else notice he didn't actually give tangible use for algebra?

I work in the trades, sheet metal/HVAC more specifically, and I use algebra, geometry, and trig damn near everyday. This applies for most trades as well

Math is also the one place where you learn straight up problem solving.

I don't think math and algebra are much of an issue, but I think that calculus before statistics is an issue.

Professor-kaosss avatar Professor-kaoss Yeah You Are +2Reply

For me, math taught process and problem solving.

Its helped me a lot imo. Like while i have used math equations and stuff, the general idea of breaking down problems into a process has helped. Especially at work.

Milkzeys avatar Milkzey Yeah You Are +2Reply

I play pool every day, quite often for money. That's physics and geometry right there.

Our entire world is math

This message isn't communicated properly (often it's not even taught with that goal in mind) which leads students to think that they're being taught stuff just for the sake of it

Does it not literally depend on what you want to do with your life? Correct me if im wrong its a geuine question.

@Crazymotherfuker Does it not literally depend on what you want to do with your life? Correct me if im wrong its a geuine question.

Idk, if you really put an effort into "getting" math, it's kind of crazy how often it pops up in your daily life. How does that story go?

"MRS. SMITH WHY ARE WE LEARNING CALC WHEN WE'RE NEVER GONNA USE IT IN REAL LIFE?"

"You won't, but the clever kids will"

@Crazymotherfuker Does it not literally depend on what you want to do with your life? Correct me if im wrong its a geuine question.

Oh it absolutely does almost like any other class. It's one of the biggest reasons I think we need to reintroduce trades into schools.
If you're going into a job that requires Advanced mathematics absolutely, But your normal average everyday job doesn't require anything more than algebra. I've done construction, landscaping, roofing , retail. everything I have learned or needed has been through basic algebra or on the job train.

Iapetus-11s avatar Iapetus-11 Yeah You Are +3Reply

I always loved math, but the way it was taught in school is incompatible with how MY brain wants to learn. I don't want to just learn how, I want to learn why. Algebra doesn't teach you why.

Definitely an unpopular opinion. I'm 51 and have NEVER used algebra in my real life. Problem-solving skills can be taught in many ways. Math is just one of them

Its had to predict the future when your 17

Math is important but your argument is flawed. Explain to students why it's important, tell them what they can do with it if they choose to.

The way it's taught, it might aswell be a nonsensical arbitrary system only used to practice doing boring stuff they can't bluff their way through. Or just memorizing years, which pretty much is how history is taught.

I work at a grocery store. I haven't once used the calculus I learned in high school for my job or in any other capacity. I do however use algebra daily.

I don't work places where they just tell me to do things that make no sense, and they won't give me an explanation for... if my boss asks me to do something and I don't see why it needs to be done, I'll ask what the task is needed for and they'll tell me. Now I understand the purpose of my work and have better insight into what is necessary to keep the business running. Working in an environment where you're just told to do random things with no understanding of what function these random things serve sounds awful and soul sucking.

Everybody uses algebra all the time without even realizing it. It's just the written form that throws people off.

Algebra is also the foundation for nearly every typical high paying career, as well as any higher level math courses.

Programming? Algebra

Financial Analyst? Algebra

Science? LOTS of algebra

Operating a business? Algebra

Software Engineer? Algebra

Building Contractor that's not a grunt? Algebra

The reason kids think it's useless is because they're kids.

Achilles982s avatar Achilles982 Yeah You Are +1Reply

It's staggering how many people don't know how to use a budget, don't understand how debt and interest work, don't know how to compare the prices in the store, and think they can afford anything lenders-who-want-their-money say they can afford*. I don't expect everyone to memorize the quadratic formula, but a little basic financial literacy, with the required math to back it up, would improve the lives of so many people.

*I tried to make this list short to get to the point, but there's so much else we could add, like tax brackets and knowing that a 1/3 pound burger is bigger than a 1/4 pound burger.

I've been to university, electrical engineering, first year some maths. My colleagues had the same attitude "when will i use this? To buy bread?" . As an engineer you should know this stuff as good as basic multiplying, but ignorance prevails as always and this school just pops out garbage engineers for this reason.

jodzdzownicas avatar jodzdzownica Yeah You Are +1Reply

Most of math is about being given a set of rules and learning how to follow those rules to solve a problem. You may only be applying basic math to 99.99% of your daily life when it comes to actually figuring out numbers but you're going to be in situations where you need to adhere to a set of rules to solve the problem you're facing.

Mcgee0s avatar Mcgee0 Yeah You Are +1Reply

Almost all of my job is applied geometry. Anyways, the benefit most will get from algebra and the like from high school is learning how to think and problem solve.

dankXDs avatar dankXD Yeah You Are 0Reply

While I think you're right that high school algebra and math is important I don't know if you're arguments really make it clear that it is. You're too points are pretty vague and could be applied to almost anything, not necessarily algebra and math.

SnooStoriess avatar SnooStories Yeah You Are 0Reply
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