When am I ever going to use this?
It's a rite of passage that all teenagers ask The Question in their high school math classes. We've all asked it. Maybe it was in Algebra, or maybe it was in Trigonometry, but I know you asked it. I did.
(If you did, please tell your story in the comments below.)
As a high school math teacher I field The Question all the time. As a rule, I have three (yes, 3) short answers and one long answer.
Short Answer #1: One of my best students ever, Duy, gave the following answer when someone in his class posed The Question: "Friday. You'll use this on the test Friday."
Sure enough, there's logic in that snarky, snappy answer. You need to pass your math classes to graduate, and to do that you need to pass your tests.
Short Answer #2: Never. You're right, you are not going to use the Quadratic Formula unless you're teaching math. OK, yes, an engineer may employ the concept but certainly they are using software to handle the calculations.
Before I share Short Answer #3, let's look at the long answer.
While you won't likely use the Quadratic Formula in everyday life, you will encounter problems in any job or business that require you to slog through really boring tediousness of your work. Allow me to expand on that ... in two parts. (Didn't I mention this would be long?)
The first part of my long answer I give my students in response to The Question: there may come a day when you suffer boredom in a job or in whatever business you run, so if you can find a way to slog through the monotony and understand something admittedly kinda boring like the Quadratic Formula and in the process develop perseverance, then you will be better prepared to do the boring things you'll have to do as an adult.*
The 2nd part of my long answer I give my students in response to The Question: there may come a day when you suffer tediousness in a job or in whatever business you run, so if you can find a way to slog through the details and understand something admittedly pretty tedious like the Quadratic Formula and in the process develop intelligence, then you will be better prepared to do the tedious tasks you'll have to do as an adult.**
Now (finally) Short Answer #3 to The Question, When am I ever going to use this?
Short Answer #3: Everyday of your life.
You see, you WILL use perseverance and intelligence everyday of your life. Yep, even as you learn the Quadratic Formula, you are learning and developing both perseverance and intelligence, even if you don't use the formula ever again in real life.
Now you might be thinking well, I'm just not a math person - I just don't get it.
And that, my friends, leads us to the next BIG QUESTION ... What if I don't get it?