“I’ve never done this before. Why am I doing it now?” the stuntman asked himself as he revved up his motorcycle to take the ultimate leap of faith.10 tires were set ablaze before him, and he had to jump over all of them.

In his previous successful attempt, the stuntman had only managed to jump half of what he was about to attempt.

If you are a third-party observing this stunt, you will realise that the previous statement was a basic algebra lesson. If we did not know that the stuntman was about to jump over 10 tires, algebraically, we’d assume -- x tires.

His previous attempt was half the number of tires, i.e. x/2.

At first glance, algebra has always been about finding the value of x or y, but there is so much more. With algebra, you can calculate a family’s age, the distance and time taken by people travelling from Point A to B, and even how many points LeBron James scored in an NBA season.

Algebra is generous; she often gives more than what is asked of her.

D'Alembert

If you’re introducing your child to algebra, don’t throw x’s and y’s on their face, but rather show them real-life examples. Ask them to calculate their monthly allowance if you give them $10 per week. And once they get that answer, show them how $10 could be the value of x, and in four weeks, the value goes up to 4x.

After all, without algebra, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything.

curriculum