It has become far too easy for far too many to say… “I don’t do math.” But, in reality, we all confront and solve problems every day. This dread or fear paralyzes far too many far too soon. Algebra is key for the simple reason… it provides the very tools which can be applied to real-world problems. Algebra is also “the course” which lays the foundation for the remainder of math coursework.
Humanity confronts and solves problems. Algebra provides essential tools to solve problems. Humanity uses Algebra. Algebra is our friend.
Why Algebra? The transitive property of equality goes… If a = b and b = c, then a = c.
Before one checks out, check it out. The transitive property of equality is fundamental, it is logical and given the chance… simple! Plain and simple… Algebra is solving problems. Understanding the above-mentioned property is a shortcut to solving the problem. The burden of having to count three separate units is no more. Similarly, if one were to recall the “aha” moment when the benefits of multiplication became real, they recognize the value of the tool. Knowing that 4 x 4 = 16 was an immediate “game changer” and the need for fingers and toes for counting was gone.
It all begins with the utterance of a first word. Whether this word is “mama,” “milk,” “more,” “please,” or “dog” matters little. There is always a first and the first is significant. With the first, there is a “connection.” With “connection,” there is an “aha” which paves the way for an enhanced means of communication. Whatever these noises are called, the infant begins to recognize these sounds represent a means to identify a “something.” Language, the tool, begins to take off and, depending upon the rate at which one acquired the skill to construct different sounds, the ability to demonstrate an understood vocabulary takes off as well.
Generally, it is not long before there is exposure to two separate sets of rhythmic symbols. One begins with an a… b… c… while the other goes 1… 2… 3. Regardless, the youngster repeats the sequence without a clue as to the potential or the eventual relationship to words or future symbols. This understanding will come later. When later does arrive and the next wave of “aha” reveals that the combination of letters has meaning and the collection of numbers represents language as well. The little gal/guy enters a bigger world and the excitement for it… grows. Curiosity is a beautiful thing. Understanding “the why” is a beautiful thing.
As parents and educators, we are left to wonder… “If only” humanity’s fascination with those things new and the sheer love of learning were to continue throughout an entire lifetime what would parenting and teaching be? Certainly, this experience called life would look considerably different for a good number of people. We’ll not make the argument that everyone should be fascinated about everything forever, but “if only” interest could be sustained through the acquisition of some of life’s most useful tools… tools which open doors and provide additional opportunity. We’d argue… Algebra would qualify as “a most useful” tool.
With the reconfiguration, the Class of 2023 will be the first class to experience an eight hour block as Freshmen. Simply put, their’s will be a schedule with eight classes rather than seven. As such, we’ve identified this as a unique opportunity to deliver Algebra I differently. In other words, these students will be enrolled in an Algebra I class which meets daily. Within the daily block, the staff member will focus on strengthening the Algebra I skills and use the additional time to incorporate some academic support as well as some ACT Prep. Given historical data, we anticipate this opportunity will be afforded to roughly 80% of freshman annually.
Once again…. Humanity confronts and solves problems. Algebra provides essential tools to solve problems. Humanity uses Algebra. Algebra is our friend.