When Will I Ever Use This? An Essay for Students Who Have Ever Asked This Question in Math Class is an extraordinary essay by Douglas Corey from Brigham Young University. Though portions are specifically devoted to math, most of it is applicable to any subject.

It was shared on Twitter by Steven Strogatz.

Here’s how it ends:


It’s too long (nine pages) to use “as is” in most of my classes, but I plan on editing it down and asking students to respond to this writing prompt:

What does Professor Corey say is the reason we should learn new things even though we may not see how it can be used? To what extent do you agree (or disagree) with what he is saying? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings, including from his essay.

Let me know if you have suggestions to improve the prompt…

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction, where you’ll find other prompts.