Algebra in Entrepreneurship brings real world to math

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Geometry in Construction students used to be the only ones who practices a real world job in their math class, but now Algebra 1 students have the same opportunity.

“In  Geometry in Construction, it takes geometry and integrates it with something real world, like building a house,” says math teacher Ross Freeland. “ This is the same thing but it takes Algebra 1 and it integrates with something real, but not building a house, building a business.”

The new class, Algebra in Entrepreneurship taught by Ross Freeland and Chris Manila, is a math credit along with a CTE (Career and Technical Education). Freeland is a math teacher and Manila is a business teacher.  However, they both teach both subjects in the class.  Much like the three year old Geometry in Construction program, Algebra in Entrepreneurship teaches math students very important life skills.

The class right now has 24 students, but is expected to expand.  It teaches necessary business skills such as revenue, making  profit, and marketing.  To start putting their business skills to work the students will work in the Wildkit store.

The kiosk on the first floor H Hall will hopefully have a turn around because of this class.  They will be selling the Wildkit gear while learning the ins and outs of running a business.  They will be determining important things in the store such as its hours, marketing for the store, and the best products to sell there.

“We are going to start by running it the way it has been run. Then, we are going to start thinking of ideas about different products to sell or different ways to sell the products,” says Freeland.  “We are going to reinvent that Wildkit Store.”
The students in the class are working towards the goal of creating their own business using the skills they learn in the class.  During second semester, the students will come up with an idea for a successful business to run.  They will be assigned mentors from the Evanston business world to help them, and the students will eventually pitch their ideas to potential  investors.  This is very similar to the show Shark Tank.

A common issue among math classes is that there is not enough real world connections in the classes.  Many students tend to complain “What are we ever going to use this for?”.  This class is explicitly showing how math skills, specifically Algebra, can apply to an important job.

“I think that math should apply because it is important, but I feel like what I have been learning isn’t important in the real world,” comments sophomore Will Schultz.

According to, Atlantic Magazine about 94% of jobs in America  require you to use math in some sort of way. However, not many jobs are using very difficult math, there is a solid amount that contains Algebra 1 and above.  Many jobs which are white collar contain advanced math, but the majority of jobs using advanced math are blue collar workers.

Some jobs that use math everyday are traders, video game designers, roller coaster designers, sports announcer, sales people,  and even a photographer.  Math is used in so many professions that it is essential that students add real world application to their classes.

“Math can often get divided amongst those who like math and those who don’t get the point of it,” says senior Annie Kelley. “Adding in real-world application opens up the entire subject so it’s not just about being good at taking tests.”

It seems like a trend that the majority of people at ETHS are for bringing a real world job into math.  Math is a pretty difficult subject for a lot of people, and bringing in a real life aspect can truly liven it up.

“I really do think that there is not enough real world context in our math classes.  I have taught Algebra 1 and something different is needed there to help kids connect with the real world,” comments Freeland.

The combination of math and a real job in a class is growing quickly. Many teachers have hopes that all students will have the opportunity to take a class like Algebra in Entrepreneurship.