If I had been taught algebra in the context of physics in HS, it would have clicked. Just the way my brain is wired.
Commenting on the foolishness of the original article, I'd have a few years ago been shocked by such “thinking”. No longer. Our nation seems now to be overrun (or run) by a bunch of “big thinkers” from junior high who, because they've had smoke blow up their rears for so long, honestly believe that any opinion they happen to develop is a) correct, and b) beyond brilliant.
Good point. Too many math teachers really don't have an answer to a student's question "why do we have to learn this stuff?"
It's really not the teacher's fault. It's the way the material is presented (and in many school districts teachers have no choice in this). A typical lesson might start with 20 repetitious abstract problems, followed by one or two practical examples.
The order should be reversed. Present the practical problems first (from physics, economics, architecture, whatever), then go from there.
Sounds very similar to my experience. I took biology and chemistry to start with in high school. It wasn't until I took physics that I understood where the maths came into play. That's not to say that chemistry doesn't have some math involvement, but physics is VERY math heavy.
When I "get" something, I go full-bore into it, and once I "got" math and physics, I became a devotee. Despite my having degrees in English, I use math every day in computer programming, network pathing, and even home remodeling. I recently built an archway into a room after taking out a door and had to use trig to figure out how to make it work. I now have a beautiful archway into another room, and my wife has delegated me as the official math teacher for our yet-to-be-born homeschooled children.