

Using algebra
Name: eileenb
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Question:
What is the use of learning algebra, how can we use it in the real world
with a normal job (NOT TEACHING)?
Replies:
It depends on what you consider to be a normal job. For many unskilled
jobs (fewer and fewer of these seem be available) at minimum wage, you could
probably get by without algebra. Basically, algebra is the technical
language of science. The more scientific a field of work becomes, the
more mathematics gets to be a part of the job. This includes almost
every technological field today which includes manufacturing, medicine,
etc. And many historically nontechnological fields involve more and
more mathematical formulas or models (algebra describes them) than before.
For example, students of psychology, social sciences, or any area where
data and statistics are analyzed must be fluent in algebra and often in
even higher level mathematics.
tee
While I agree with the previous response, I think that our schools
could do more to show you how algebra is actually used, instead of just
teaching a bunch of rules. Here is a quick algebra problem for you:
My neighbor and I share a small backyard swimming pool. We each
have a hose that we can use to fill the pool. His hose fills the pool
in 6 hours, mine fills it in 4 hours. How long does it take when we
use both hoses?
jlu
Here's one; if you are standing 5 feet from the bottom
of a building, and by using a surveryor's transom you
can measure the angle from the ground to the top of the
building to be 60 degrees, how high is the building?
(this one requires both algebra AND trigonometry).
topper
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Update: June 2012

