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Success in Science: Does It Add Up?

Successful scientists require a broad range of skills and attributes in order to achieve, and have recognition of, their successes. Central and pivotal to these skills is the mastery of number and a proficiency in mathematics. In science lessons students frequently rely on these mathematical skills but when out of the confines of a mathematics classroom and in a different context, find difficulty in demonstrating them suitably.

Teachers from Heaton Manor School, Newcastle Upon Tyne, focussed on a targeted group of students in order to nurture and develop the mathematical skills they are most likely to employ to become successful scientists. In doing so they considered the role staff can play in orchestrating and collaboratively planning activities to develop these skills.

Science staff wanted to place a greater emphasis on key mathematical operations whilst the mathematics staff were more interested in gaining a context for the mathematical concepts thereby making some activities more relevant to students by working with real data.

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