This is a running theme in how Neil Degrasse Tyson explains the importance of science education but this sums it up nicely, especially for students who aren’t necessarily going to go into a science field.
From a recent NASA tweetup, Bill Nye shares his thoughts about engaging middle school girls in science and math topics. He points to introducing algebra earlier as helpful in keeping girls engaged as they hit 10 years old and move on to middle schoool.
Think about it. Algebra is the first place that students see a lot of real world utility in numbers. Finding unknowns. Even seeing something as simple as predicting when you’ll arrive somewhere based on start time and average speed can turn that light on for a student, “hey, that’s cool, I could use this for…”