Did You Use Algebra Today?

Just like the humorous image in this post, I have yet to use Algebra today. I haven't utilized polynomials, solved for a single variable, or graphed anything. But I did use Algebra the other day when I filled up my car's tank. I applied a simple equation to determine my miles per gallon: x miles / y gallons = z mpg

A week before that, I needed to calculate the percentage of conversions for a spreadsheet at work: (# of purchases / # of visits) * 100 = conversion %

Granted, outside of assisting high schoolers with homework, I haven't used an equation to find the slope of a line -- you know, y = mx + b -- since I was that age myself. But the fundamental practice of setting up an equation and keeping track of variables is useful on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. And that is one of the key elements taught in basic Algebra.

Summer is still in session for many kids. It's tempting to think that what you've learned is no longer applicable. We can wonder if there's really a point to returning to formal studies. It's not like we actually use any of this stuff!

But that's simply not true.

We may forget the details, but we retain the bedrock.

If your kids are still on break, encourage them to enjoy their vacation. But it may be helpful, every now and again, to point out the little instances where what they've learned is clearly applied in what they do.

Fire Hose of Knowledge

If nothing else, it's a helpful reminder to you that they are, indeed, learning.

~Luke Holzmann