# The Use in Real Life

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by chrisa86, Mar 3, 2011.

1. ### chrisa86New commenter

I've tried to have a look on the internet but there's nothing I can see that's particularly effective.

Does anyone know of a list of the material taught (say at GCSE) and where all of it could be relevant in the real-world, where they could use it in some careers, albeit as tenuous as some of the links may be...

3. ### scentless_apprentice

A lot of new textbooks include this in their chapter introductions.
DM's link is a very useful one, there's the Maths 4 Real videos on Teacher's TV, and the National STEM centre Elibrary has the Cre8te Maths materials that link maths to the real world...

4. ### weebecka

The most effective thing by far in learning terms is when the students come up with something for themselves.
I know this isn't always possible of course but the more you get them used to struggling to do it the better they get at it.

5. ### AnonymousNew commenter

I'm sure you can think of some yourself!
Statistics
Trigonometry
Ratio and proportion
Percentage
Cumulative frequency
Area and volume
That should cover basic use of real maths.
Algebra, quadratics, advanced trigonometry - now that gets a bit more complicated about real life use but there are some - especially when linked to say physics and engineering.

6. ### Maths_MikeNew commenter

The problem with "real life" maths is that it is too difficult for GCSE.

Other than basic numeracy, time, money etc, any other problems that are genuinely real life is far to complex.
To make them accessable makes them so obviously not "real life" that it defeats the object.
Anyway why do we have to justify our subject. Whats real life about History - when was the last time in "real life" you required your GCSE History knowledge?

(Or for History insert just about any other subject)

7. ### weebecka

hmmmm, where to begin.
The Bowland CPD part 1 is good for helping teacher to begin to teach using real life scenarios Mike.
But what I'm suggesting here is nowhere near that complicated - it's just ask the kids where they think this topic might apply. And be prepared to string out the awkward bit where they all don't know for a while. Set it as a homework maybe.

8. ### KarvolOccasional commenter

We don't. The purpose of mathematics at GCSE or higher is not really to be of any practical use. Why do we use contrived questions which seldom apply? They are all to serve a more useful purpose and that is to engender within students the basis of critical analysis, reason and logical thought.
Mathematics is taught not because it is mathematics, but because it is by far the most effective way of training the mind to think logically, to examine something rationally and then to arrive at a conclusion based upon knowledge and reflection.
That is really what we are teaching when we teach mathematics.

9. ### chrisa86New commenter

And that is a very fair point.

I think I've just come to a point where I'm truly questioning the value of spending ages explaining how to plot the graph of a quadratic, cubic etc when no-one beyond GCSE would spend their time drawing it properly by hand!

10. ### chrisa86New commenter

And that is a very fair point.

I think I've just come to a point where I'm truly questioning the value of spending ages explaining how to plot the graph of a quadratic, cubic etc when no-one beyond GCSE would spend their time drawing it properly by hand!

11. ### Betamale

Helps improve their accuracy, allows them to take pride in their work, may spark some interest in the subject and may help generic solving skills (etc etc).
Im all for functional stuff, especially for those not taking maths further, but just how far can you stretch around 600+ hours of a kids school life doing everything functional?
I think regardless of the level of the kid, their should be some 'pure' maths (very much like the idea of the linked pair GCSE) taught for the sake of respecting maths and learning something about it (and of course as a byproduct they build all the skills mentioned above)
If we went on the idea of teaching functionally French and German have no place in the curriculum, drama can go as with music etc etc.
I love circle theorem.....so very few will use it post GCSE but the problem solving, team building and competitive kids make the topic awesome for building other skils and sparking enthusiasm.
I still think kids shouldnt do maths before they are externally qualified in numeracy. That (IMO) would change the landscape of maths education and where you could go with topics.
Old BTEC books may too assist your ideas on all levels RE functional stuff especialy for lower/medium ability kids going into the world of work

12. ### siddons_sara

The Shell Centre materials are excellent as are the Cre8te ones. In my opinion, the Bowland shows all that is wrong with insisting that maths be real life. In exams, I think the wordy 'real life' questions often disadvantage the very pupils they are designed to 'help'.

13. ### cas38

Computer games programming has been identified as such an important industry that there have been calls for special rates of tax in the last budget!!! Dare anyone to try to program a computer game (with graphics) without knowledge of trig, angles (use of radians etc), circle theorems, laws of physics, solving simultaneous equations... the list is almost endless. Same goes for apps I guess, seeing as everyone likes using them so much.

14. ### Maths_MikeNew commenter

I am sry but programmers simply dont need these skills - the computer does all the maths for them

15. ### bobboots

If you tell it how, which requires very detailed knowledge of the maths involved.
This is a very (and I'm surprised given the poster) ignorant attitude towards what is involved in computer programming, in particular games programming.

16. ### Betamale

Perhaps I should have quoted the poster before mine.
My point is that maths should be enjpoyed for the heck of it and not have to be applied to real life beyond the spehere of maths.
Why justify why we are teaching kids something they wont do in the future? Just teach them pure maths for the love of pure maths.
I personally think teaching French to secondary school pupils is quite silly yet its done and French teachers certainly dont have to justify where kids will use the feminin and masculin verbs (or whatever is taught) beyond the school classroom

17. ### weebecka

And I'm saying they should do that some of the time and explore the interaction between maths and their perception of reality at other times.
I think if you just do the abstract bit that's just logic. Part of maths is missing. There's a good discussion about this on the philosophy of maths discussion forum on Linked In if you're interested.
Anyway. It seems we disagree. That's okay.

18. ### cas38

I am sry too. What a bizarre and baffling comment! I am sry to say also that if this is your view on how the world works, then one would have to question what kind of perspective you must be passing on to your students about industry and how to go about getting a job... In the internet age, how many employers would turn down a candidate with some appreciation of programming? Most graduate jobs (assuming you want your students to go to university) require use of a computer and a lot require basic programming (esp. banks and SMEs).

19. ### Maths_MikeNew commenter

I totally agree but you are missing my point.

Functional maths at GCSE is so diluted it is pointless. GCSE is about basic skills.

If we can use problems , investgations etc of course we do to add to enjoyment and understanding but to suggest your going to need GCSE maths in a work place is ridiculous (with as I said the exception of numeracy which like literacy is required all the time by everyone)

20. ### weebecka

Er - it depends how you teach it. How do you teach it Mike?