Is Algebra Necessary? Revealing Real-World Applications


In response to political scientist Andrew Hacker’s New York Times (NYT) op-ed essay “Is Algebra Necessary?,” NYT‘s Learning Network blog identifies at least nine real-world applications—drawing source material from the pages of the Times—that require algebraic reasoning.

For example, calculate different models for pricing home mortgages, and use NYT‘s Real Estate section’s built-in calculator to check your work. Students could also use formulas to calculate potential electoral votes or redo recipes from the pages of the paper, determining ingredient amounts based on N number of guests.

After reading last week’s most-clicked ASCD SmartBrief story, what do you think—is algebra necessary?