Why do we learn Algebra, where is it used in everyday life? Mathematics in daily life!

Mathematics in daily life!

A question asked by pupils all the time is “Why do we learn Algebra, where is it used in everyday life, Where do we use Mathematics in daily life?” or “Why do we use x in Algebra as the unknown?“. Below are some examples of Mathematics in daily life and also some great algebra funnies at the bottom of the article. You really need to take a look at the second picture, it is hilarious!

As educators we all have our own responses and it would be great to collect together examples all in one place so they can be shared and used by all. Below are some examples of using algebra in everyday life, it would be great if you left your responses in the comments area. Take a look at some of the other Algebra resources on the site or search for a resource on the side bar. Also don’t forget to check out this letter to Algebra

Mathematics in daily life –Example 1

When filling your car up with gas you can use a form of algebra. Lets say you only have £20.00 to spend on petrol today and petrol is £3.50 a gallon. How many gallons could you buy?

fill petrol car clipart image picture

fill petrol car clipart image picture

Let x = # of gallons of petrol

3.50x=20.00
x=5.71 gallons

Mathematics in daily life – Example 2

Lets say you need to buy a PS3. You have £400 to spend on everything. You know a new system costs £200 and extra controller £20. Assuming a game costs £30 how many games could you get?

black ps3 controller image picture image

black ps3 controller image picture image

Let x= the number of Games

£400 = £200 + £20 +£30x
400=230+30x
180=30x
x = 6 Games

Mathematics in daily life- Example 3

Why do we learn algebra? A great video showing examples of this.

Do we need to teach algebra in schools?

Mathematics in daily life funnies

Check out these Algebra funnies my favourite is definitely the second one!

Posted in Algebra, Mathematics, Maths Toolkit Tagged with: ,
19 comments on “Why do we learn Algebra, where is it used in everyday life? Mathematics in daily life!
  1. Gary says:

    This is applying algebra awkwardly as a way of solving an every day problem. 90% of the time students (and adults) wouldn’t instinctively start throwing xs into their sums. Surely excusing ourselves for having to use algebra is the problem here rather than exposing how algebra can be used and be useful. Applying formulas and rules early shows how to use Algebra

  2. Rahul says:

    The examples are very less for algebra in every day life and they are also not related to “every day life”. Overall it’s not good it can be good.

  3. Anthony says:

    I think it’s selling algebra short to give examples that students can easily solve without. I describe algebra as an addition to your mathematical toolkit that, when you are confident with it, can make many types of problems much easier to solve, and some otherwise near-impossible problems possible. We use it to describe otherwise complex ideas (F=ma, y=gt^2), or to describe situations that we can’t readily grasp without an ‘unknown’.

    My dad uses simultaneous linear equations to calculate proportions of feed for cattle rationing, balancing things like nutrient requirements and cost.

    My preferred ‘everyday life’ connection is Excel. Build a budget, say, but make use of an Excel formula wherever appropriate. The power is in the automatic recalculating every time an input value changes. Increase your hourly rate by 50p: see how your income increases: see if you’re still spending more than you’re earning.

    We can do better than this “Make an equation to find what’s left when I take 20 from 30″ nonsense – it’s artificial and harms rather than helps the case for algebra. It’s like justifying chainsaw training by showing how you could use one to cut twigs. I love xkcd’s comment on this: “The only thing you HAVE to know is how to make enough of a living to stay alive and how to get your taxes done. All the fun parts of life are optional.”

  4. acchu says:

    the examples are sooooooooooo goooooood

  5. acchu says:

    the examples are sooooooooooo goooooood
    and the cat is looking so cute

  6. Nate says:

    Why use 3.50x =20.00
    x=5.71 gallons

    Just say 20.00/3.50=5.71 per gallon. why make it so hard for kids sitting up until 12am trying to get their homework done instead of just dividing it and getting the answer easily . ugh!!!!!

  7. srivalli sailaja says:

    OK.NOT BAD BUT SOME MORE EXAMPLES CAN BE GIVEN

  8. good.but some more example is to be given.help in my project.

    • magicalmaths says:

      Would you like to guest blog about it? That way you could get more coverage..

      • howdy... Chiquita says:

        hello, i am doing a project on “why do we need algebra in our lives” … is there anyway you could help me with this … i am finding it difficult to get information
        thanx

  9. Miss Davies says:

    “Algebra” at school is really just mathematical modelling. (School) Algebra is the reason why our (civilian) plane flights are smooth (in the form of a control system with a correction factor) but fighter jets (no correction factor) are able to change direction quickly, like in Red Arrows displays. The problem is that subjects are taught as standalone, because they are tested as such. This requires a big overhaul from the government rather than a few everyday examples that don’t really require algebra!

  10. Kundan says:

    shown example are unitary method man not algebra and if algebra is used… then teach us in the real way using numbers… why to study A B C X Z…
    in fact no one uses algebra to calculate the cost for petrol ps3 etc.. algebra should be removed from the syllabus

  11. Odette says:

    hey,
    at school i am doing why we need algebra in our lives…i am am finding it really difficult to find info and this website doesn’t really help that much unless someone will reply with extra help.
    thanx

  12. Is there any information that can be usefull for a prodject i am doing about”why do we need algabra in our lives”.

    if there is it will be helpfull. Thanks

  13. Edwin McCravy says:

    If algebra is taught from the standpoint of “why” rather than “how”, it is beneficial because it teaches reasoning.

    • Egeslean says:

      Reasoning is a poor reason to require algebra. You can learn/be taught reasoning in other ways, for instance, word problems or logic puzzles. Algebra has no use in every day life, it is only useful for the handful of jobs/careers that need it.

      These ‘examples’ only serve to highlight how useless algebra is outside of a very few select areas.

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