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Why Do I Need To Know Algebra?

picture of why algebra cover art with question markThe Contra Costa Office of Education and Chevron Corporation know how important it is that our students understand the link between what they learn in the classroom and how they will use that knowledge as they move into higher education and into their careers.

Many students believe algebra doesn’t apply to real life. They echo the common refrain, “Why do I need to know Algebra?” But as adults we know that math applies to many careers, not just those in math and science. In this resource, students will see the wide variety of careers that use Algebra. From racecar engineer to human resource manager, students will have the opportunity to hear directly from these professionals how they use math in their day-to-day work life.

The DVD and supporting materials are designed to help students understand how classroom math connects to the real world. The DVD contains interviews with people working in a variety of careers. Students can hear directly from adults in the workplace about their day-to-day work life and how their training in math contributes to their ability to do their job. Students will have the opportunity to practice math problems as they learn about these careers.

Who Should Use This Program?

“Why Do I Need To Know Algebra?” is designed for use with middle or junior high students. It is also suitable for use in after school programs and career exploration classes.

The Program Materials

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The Segmented Instructional Videos

NOTE: Pop-Up windows must be allowed.

Introduction and Overview of How To Use The Video

Segment 1 – Real Estate Developer
Dan Freeman – Lenox Homes
Running time: 5:54:07

Segment 2 – Civil Engineer
Phoenix Nguyen – Eichleay Engineers
Running time: 4:48:02

Segment 3 – Network Systems Technician
Helen Kostoff – Contra Costa County Office of Education
Running time: 3:48:02

Segment 4 – Electrician
Dennis Roos – International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
Running time: 5:42:06

Segment 5 – Engineer / Auto Racing
Mike Doyle – World Speed Motorsports
Running time: 6:28:06

Segment 6 – Human Resource Manager
Cyndi Soraoka – John Muir Health
Running time: 4:30:06

Segment 7 – Geologist
Sunday Shepard – Chevron Corporation
Running time: 6:43:02


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Special Acknowledgements


Chevron logo

The “Why Do I Need To Know Algebra” project was funded by
a grant from the Chevron Corporation.


CCCOE logo

The “Why Do I Need To Know Algebra” project was created by
the Contra Costa Office of Education.


Contra Costa County
Superintendent of Schools
Karen Sakata

Contra Costa County Board of Education
Pamela M. Mirabella
Christine Deane
Mike Maxwell
Daniel A. Gomes
Jeff Belle


Special thanks to the following business partners and their representatives:

  • Chevron Corporation
  • Contra Costa Office of Education
  • Eichleay Engineers Inc. of California
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • John Muir Heath
  • Lenox Homes
  • World Speed Motor Sports

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Page updated on: May 04, 2016

Rev: 0.4-010514-BETA4