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“When will I ever need to use maths?”

Published: May 18, 2016 2 min read

michael anderson

It is the clichéd question every mathematics teacher dreads. In my own teaching I usually answer in a variety of ways, often alluding to the skills required in the world of work. Apart from my own role as a teacher of mathematics, I could usually think of a few examples but soon ran dry of other career choices which used the specific topic at issue.

Fortunately the IMA’s Maths Careers website can help. It is packed with interesting and informative articles which appeal to students and teachers alike. In addition, the National STEM Learning Centre has compiled collections of teaching resources which complement the articles designed to help teachers link a range of real world ideas and often overlooked career options with the mathematics curriculum content behind them.

Articles on the Maths Careers site include:

How mathematics helps solve murders

Explore how Pythagoras’ Theorem and trigonometric ratios are used to analyse the shape and location of blood stains in a crime scene, helping to determine the exact location of an attack in order to piece together an accurate sequence of events.

The mathematics of online dating 

Find out how mathematics helps online dating websites to help people find true love. Your students can explore the calculations and algorithms involved, as well as investigate what makes people attractive with the golden ratio.

Big Data Careers 

“..the demand for Big Data staff is predicted to grow by between 13% and 23% each year…” Get your students to handle large data sets and to think analytically to help prepare them for the wealth of future statistical career options available to them.

The secrecy scare 

Explore factors, multiples and prime numbers while investigating the encryption methods used by governments, code-breakers and WhatsApp to keep our sensitive data safe from cyber-attacks.

The mathematics of football

Investigate symmetry, 2-and-3D geometry, data analysis or speed, distance, time graphs as well as finding out how to make the perfect football, how to win a penalty shoot-out and the best way to take a throw-in.