Have you or your child used a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel?

If so you have likely organized data into rows and columns like the example spreadsheet below. As you may imagine there is a lot of value of using a spreadsheet program like Excel to manage a lot of information. In mathematics we can use matrices and systems to organize data like that in a spreadsheet. You can think of a matrix as a way to represent data in rows and columns just like Excel.

Another mathematical model that represents data in rows and columns is a system. Both **systems** and** matrices** are big topics in algebra so you will need to master them. Sometimes it’s hard to see how the concepts we learn in algebra apply in the “real world” but trust me these concepts are everywhere we just need to look a little deeper to make the connections.

**Note:** most students won’t really get into advance study of matrices until Algebra 2 so don’t worry if you do not see a lot of the topic in Algebra 1.