Between my five Algebra 1 Periods, the students I work with in Robotics, the lunch time students, after school students, class of 2020 students that I advise, this is the most often question that I get. Why do I have to take math? I am never going to use it.
I am going to write down a few of my answers that I plan to give them. If you come up with more, please, make a comment.
The first thing that I thought of was they need to pass this class because it is a requirement for graduation. Then they have science classes they need to pass for the same reason. If students do well in math, they will have the advantage over the students in these classes.
I feel that reason is really a cop out. Of course they have to pass the class, but that is not what they are needing to hear.
The first real reason I have is that it builds their brains. I know that the more math I learn, the smarter I seem to feel. I have to agree that I am not comfortable with that math headache that I get. There is this particular side of my head that when I am really working on critical thinking about problems, it hurts. At first I didn't like it and thought something was wrong. Then I began to relate it to the learning I was doing. It was just like when I go to the gym. I was building my brain. I was exercising my brain just like I exercise my body.
Math helps develop critical thinking skills. This is a necessary skill to have in the real world. I don't think I am helping my students by giving them 100 problems to solve one way, but I need to come up with problems that will help develop their thinking. If I can do this, then I believe that they will be more successful.