Algebra- Why and When?

Let me ‘fess us right now… I am not a fan of math. I use it when necessary, but have some longstanding hang-ups, especially when it comes to algebra. This year, I have the pleasure of walking my 7th grade daughter through Algebra I. Can you imagine the joy that fills my heart? (extreme sarcasm here, for those of you who don’t know me well)

Thankfully, I have a local group of educators who listen and respond to hard questions, like “Why algebra? And when?”. Obviously, I know my own bias will get in the way, not just mathematically, but technologically… if I can stick it in Wolfram Alpha and get the answer so that I can move on with my life or project, why do I need the ability to solve the problem? I don’t have a good answer.

My basic question is this… why are we moving students rapidly through math concepts? Is there a purpose for this in their life/future career?

I’ve heard responses from my local edupeeps, but am curious…. what do you think? Is algebra necessary? If so, why? And when are students developmentally ready for it? What role does technology play in the content and breadth of math instruction? (Links to your blog posts are appreciated, as always!)

photo credit: simplerich via photopin cc