Please agree to accept our cookies. If you continue to use the site, we'll assume you're happy to accept them.

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
 Welcome to the NCETM Secondary Magazine issue 2 We hope you enjoyed the first edition of the Secondary magazine. The article of the week for this second publication gives an insight into pupils’ perception of where we use mathematics in everyday life.

How much mathematics do we use in everyday life?
I was asked the other day by a Y8 pupil “what mathematics do you need to be a footballer?” My response ended up boring the poor child as I droned on and on about ‘angles’ and ‘estimating distances, running speed, trajectory, positioning in the goal area for maximum scoring potential’ and so on. However, this led onto a great discussion – largely directed by the class – about earning potential, investment and how to choose the best car! I too was educated about the importance of engine size, speed, horse power and number of valves.

Once they realised that in fact there was quite a lot of mathematics needed, they challenged each other to come up with a job or situation which didn’t need any mathematics knowledge at all. I ditched the “learning objective” (To be able to find a formula for calculating the area of a triangle) and shelved it for another lesson.

Their pupil-to-pupil discussions to find mathematical connections included: having breakfast, being an artist, acting, brushing your teeth, being a writer, going to a spa, sleeping, working as a joiner, doing your make up and hair and an unusual suggestion (from a boy I hasten to add): fighting!

When they left the classroom, I was pleased to overhear a conversation between two of the boys, who feel that mathematics is not their strong point, saying “you really need mathematics for everything that you do in life”. Evaluation of the lesson: invaluable unplanned learning outcomes.

 Secondary Magazine archive Browse Secondary Magazine Issue 1 Welcome to the magazine Issue 2 How much mathematics? Issue 3 Pecking crows? Issue 4 Unusual hobbies PD Activities Self Evaluation Why do we teach mathematics? Learning mathematics in my school Pathways and options at KS3 to KS5