Real life maths

This collection contains mathematical challenges from six engaging STEM Ambassadors. The resources explore the wide variety of real life mathematics used by the female STEM Ambassadors and help to bring mathematical careers into the classroom.

The resources include a case study, in which the STEM Ambassadors talk about their day-to-day roles, qualifications and wider careers. The STEM Ambassadors reveal how they use mathematics within their jobs and explore what being a STEM Ambassador means to them. Each resource also includes a detailed lesson plan with relevant student worksheets that explore curriculum based mathematics that relate to the STEM Ambassadors' roles.

The collection includes profiles and challenges from the following ambassadors:

Dr Karen Dawe - Research Associate, ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children aka 'Children of the 90's')
This challenge explores longitudinal studies, often used in medical research, and asks students teams to play the role of data analysts. Students will calculate the mean, mode, median and range for a small set of continuous data and interpret measures of central tendency and the consistency of data in context.

Mel Watson- Biomedical Scientist, University Hospitals Bristol Foundation NHS Trust 
In this challenge students work with decimals to convert blood cell counts per litre into counts for a smaller sample that is suitable for modern automated blood count machines. Students will multiply and divide with decimal numbers, convert between different units and forms of notation, use percentages to calculate acceptable errors and apply their understanding to compare samples of varying sizes in a range of alternative blood count machines.

Roma Agrawal - Associate Structural Engineer, WSP
In this resource students explore how to protect tall buildings from the wind force that acts on them. Students will use a flow diagram and use their calculations to chose a suitable structural option to ensure the building won't sway in high winds.

​Sayara Beg - Data Scientist
In this challenge students will explore variables, build and test a simple formula designed to help a smoothie company model demand for their product. The lesson plan includes three tasks that help students to explore the application of linear equations.

Anna Fraszczyk- Researcher, Newcastle University, NewRail
In this challenge students complete a passenger timetable for a section of railway network, calculating the travel time for a freight service to travel through each station on the network. Students then analyse possible starting times for freight services to identify which freight journeys might be possible. Students will interpret timetables and graphs in order to identify when the trains may pass each other.

​Lieutenant Commander Hannah West- Requirements Manager, Air Platform Systems Project Team, Royal Navy
This challenge explores the wear and tear on the airframes of Royal Navy aircraft. Students will organise and interpret data on how crack lengths correlate with flying time and use a line of best fit to predict when parts are likely to need to be repaired or replaced.



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Real life maths - Anna Fraszczyk

STEM Ambassador Anna Fraszczyk is a Newcastle University researcher for NewRail. Her role involves supporting the teaching and learning activities at NewRail by mentoring students, engaging with stakeholders (people who own or have invested in the company) and organising and coordinating...

Real life maths - Hannah West

​As well as being a STEM Ambassador, Lieutenant Commander Hannah West is also a Requirements Manager in the Air Platform Systems Project Team in the Royal Navy. Hannah has been responsible for managing a maintenance department, supporting the flying operations of three helicopters. Her...


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