My initial reaction to the article by Mr. Cohen was that he was wrong to have written such a discouraging article to an impressionable young girl. I feel that math is important in everyday life. I do agree with Mr. Cohen in the sense that there are many aspects of Algebra that the majority of people do not use on a daily basis. I think that this fact is what leads people to the false conclusion that Algebra is useless.
To better understand our topic, let’s define what we mean when we say “Algebra”. Webster’s dictionary defines Algebra as “a form of mathematics dealing with symbols and equations.” A guest in the mathematics forum on xpmath.com states that “…the truth is that Algebra is not much more than arithmetic expanded to the point where you don’t have to do trial and error to get an answer.” This guest goes on to explain that “…if you view it from that perspective, and overlook the outdated nature of some problems’ data, then you’ll recognize that indeed math deserves a place in your career; the more competent you can become with it, the better you’ll be able to competently manage you life.” I wholeheartedly agree with the preceding statement. However, I’m not completely certain that math is THE MOST important subject we’ll ever learn; I believe that English quite important as well.
Math describes how everything in our environment works. A working knowledge of mathematics enables us to make accurate measurements and predictions. Since Algebra uses letters to represent numbers, it forces us to leap from concrete to abstract thinking. This “new thinking” method is, I believe, the reason Algebra is so difficult for some people to learn.
It is a fact that Algebra is “essential in a huge range of occupations, including medicine, marketing, finance, economics, architecture, and computer technology. (Kollars 2008)” Even beyond it’s formal mathematical applications, algebra is considered essential for developing critical thinking and problem-solving...
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