Everyday maths

October 18, 2016

You’ve probably never stopped to think about it, but maths helps us with so many everyday tasks! Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum at Explore Learning, explains how…

Everyday maths

So I have to admit that sometimes, when a child is studying quadratic equations or Pythagoras’ theorem and they ask “why do I need to learn this?” it’s hard to convince them that they may use it in the future! There are, however, so many ways we use lots of areas of maths every day and you might not even realise you’re using it. Here are a few examples…

  • Making your dinner uses all kinds of maths. Firstly, money calculations to see how much everything you need costs. Lobster every night? Nice thought but you’ll use maths to probably rule this option out. Is your recipe for two people but you need to feed four or six? Then you’ll use times tables or ratios to work out how much more ingredients you’ll need. Washing up the dishes? You’re calculating how much washing liquid to squeeze into the water using ratios. Lucky enough to have a dishwasher? Then picking the settings and the right temperature requires maths knowledge.
  • Off on your holidays? You’ll be using maths to work out the best deal for exchanging your pounds and to work out how much you are actually spending in another currency.
  • Addicted to Candy Crush? (I had to delete it as I was getting pains in my hand!) Tired of seeing your child glued to Minecraft? Well, it’s not all bad. Although I wouldn’t advise computer games as a child’s only activity, they are often using a whole range of maths skills – from using a strategy, to angles, addition and problem solving.
  • Feeling stylish? Are you planning a home make-over? Working out how many tins of paint you’ll need or rolls of wall paper will require some number crunching – or you’ll end up with litres of old paint kicking about your house!
  • Planning a fun-filled family Monopoly session? Use your maths skills to make sure you’re not being short-changed…
  • If you’re an avid football fan, you’ll be using maths to work out how many points your team needs to win the league, what the goal difference needs to be or what they need to do to stay out of the relegation zone. You’ve guessed it, your handy maths skills will allow you to do this!
  • Off to do the weekly shop? Well you’ll need to use maths to calculate what you need to buy. From working out how many slices of bread you’ll need to make everyone sandwiches to how many nappies your newborn baby will fill! You’re using averages, multiplication and addition skills.
  • If I knew you were coming, I’d have baked a cake. To do this I would use measurements skills, estimating to know how much butter icing to make, spatial awareness skills to visualise how big I need to roll out my icing and symmetry to create a stunning design. Now the only thing left is to use my fraction skills to cut it into equal pieces. (Or maybe I’ll just let my skills slip and make mine a bigger slice!)

Hopefully you can now see just how often maths crops up in your day-to-day life! We work with our members to demonstrate just this – and help awaken their passion for numbers. Come and see for yourself at a free trial!

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