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Dear Outstanding Educator,

You would think that finding out at what time two trains will meet, if one is traveling from the west at 200mph and the other one is traveling from the East at 225mph and they were 850 miles apart at the start, would be motivation enough.

Imagine you have to calculate the paychecks of all of the hourly staff at your school. So you create a table of each employee’s name followed by their total hours worked and their hourly rate of pay.

Which Algebra formula is more understandable to calculate gross pay:

z = x * y

gross_pay = total_hours_worked * hourly_rate_of_pay

Nowadays, having to manually calculate each gross pay has been replaced by computer formulas that calculate this in seconds. But you have to understand Algebra in order to become a programmer, for example, or to do any job that requires the use of a spreadsheet.

My point with showing the above two formula variations is that in computer programming, making your variables easily understandable is Computer Science 101 fundamentals. If the student is on the autism spectrum, the use of abstract variables such as x and y may be a stumbling block to comprehension.

To the question of “Why do I need to learn this?” I think opening the doors to a multitude of career possibilities is one answer.

But it is only one of many.

**Math is the hidden secret to understanding the world**

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