If “what is my IP” is the most-asked question on Google, “do we have a use for algebra” might be one of the most-asked questions in real life—at least as far as questions math teachers get. Many memes have been shared, and many jokes have been made on the apparent “uselessness” of algebra.
But little do these people know that there are many real-life applications of algebra—it’s just so well-incorporated into our lives that we don’t even realize when we’re using it.
If you’ve ever been in a math class and thought to yourself, “I am never going to use this information,” now is the time when everything you’ve known and believed in life is going to change.
How Do You Wake Up, Bruce?
What do you in order to wake up on time in the morning? We’re sure you don’t have a rooster for the purpose, so you probably rely on an alarm clock. You’re calculating and planning, in your head, the time you’ll spend taking a shower, the time you’ll spend getting ready, the time you’ll leave your house, and so on.
Knowingly or unknowingly, you’re using algebra. You’re working out an equation in your head yourself. After all, Algebra simply means “reunion of broken parts” or “bonesetting.”
Throwing Trash in the Trash Can
There’s immense satisfaction in making the perfect shot and getting the trash right inside the trash can. But did you know that you’re also, subconsciously, using algebra here?
Inside your head, you’re calculating and trying to assess air resistance, distance, the weight of the object, the trajectory that’s required, and the required force with which you’ll throw the trash.
Yes, no wild equations form in your head, but it’s still very much a real-life application of algebra at its most basic level.
In the Kitchen
Cooking is just like math: you have to get the data—or the ingredients—and the formula—or the recipe—right in order to get the right result—or meal.
When you’re cooking, you either consciously or unconsciously calculate the amount of ingredients that need to be mixed or added in a pre-determined manner. If this isn’t math, we don’t know what is!
You might not register it, but every second, your heart beats and your brain thinks. There’s always a thought inside your head. And at various moments in the day, you’re forced to do some logical thinking—and logic follows a particular pattern: if I do this, it will lead to this, or it could lead to this, and that would lead to two possibilities.
Again, no wild equations in the air, but definitely algebra!
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