What Good Is Algebra?

Wherein an ex-algebra teacher makes a case for not being gullible

OK, students, get a piece of scratch paper and a sharp pencil. It’s time for a good old-fashioned Algebra story problem. (No, you may not use your iAnything or your calculator. Paper. Pencil. Period.)

Sam took his second semester English test. The task at hand was to find all the spelling and grammar errors. He found 92. He flunked the test. His teacher told him he only found 6.7% of the errors! What was the total number of errors to be found on that English test?

(Remember this post is intended to show you just how useful Algebra is in Real Life!)

If you know elementary Algebra, you know that asking the right question is key to writing the right equation. And that is key to getting the right answer. Here’s The Question:

92 is 6.7% of what number?

When you translate that from English to Algebra (no, you may not use Google Translate), you end up with this:

92 = .067 • x

Then you apply the distributive property (I think; I’m quite rusty on the lingo) to get this:

92 ÷ .067 = x

Do that division correctly and you get this:

1373.13432836 = x

The 92 errors Sam found represent a mere 6.7% of the 1373 errors he should have found.

Are you still waiting for me to connect all that to real life?

OK, multiply the 92 and the 1373 by one million and you’ll have today’s Algebra connection to real living:

When you have 92 million people unemployed resulting in an unemployment rate of 6.7%, the total work force must be 1,373 million people. 😯

If you allege that the US work force is 1.373 billion, it seems you’d also be arguing that the total US population exceeds 3 billion. 🙄

Now you can understand why I considered titling this post something like “Algebra, Logic, and the US Population.” 😆

Or “Algebra, a Cure for Gullibility.” :mrgreen:

Whatever the title, there’s something fishy going on. 😉

But maybe you would prefer your Algebra Dose via Amazon:

In other Algebra News, here’s an open letter to Mr. Math: Dear Math.

Above all, love God!
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