I am told that algebra is everywhere – it’s in my iPod, beneath the spreadsheet that calculates my car payments, in every corner of my building. This idea freaks me out because I just can’t see it. I sent out a query on my blog last week asking, Who among us in the real world uses algebra? Can you explain how it works?
Since I’ve been posting so much recently about how important it is to learn algebra and how poorly most students learn it, it’s taking a huge effort not to go off on a rant here. But at least the author is trying to understand, even if the huge list of formulas she provides quite misses the point. The commenters have done a nice job explaining this, as well as providing some examples of when she might use algebra-like thinking in everyday life.