I was never a math wiz, but I was blessed with good teachers. In high school, I remember sitting in Algebra II class and hearing one of my fellow students give a loud sigh before he raised his hand: “When will we ever use this?” My teacher shot back. “See the pencil you’re holding? The people who made it couldn’t have done it without the problems you’re working on right now.”
Sure, my classmates gave him the expected groans, but when I think back to that statement, I know we need more teachers like him. Even in this economy, manufacturers crave people who don’t get scared by adding and subtracting three or four places to the right of the decimal point. Operating a press brake, you basically work with a bunch of triangles (V die opening and bend angles) and degrees of a circle (bend radii). Algebra and (especially) geometry and trigonometry are everywhere.