Real Life Maths
‘What’s the last number?’ came a voice from the back of the car. My daughter had been counting and it had clearly occurred to her that she could just keep going! ‘Well there isn’t one’, ‘You can just keep adding one’, ‘You can count for ever and ever’, we replied. ‘So what’s after hundreds?’ was her next question. ‘A thousand, that’s a one and three noughts – it’s ten times ten times ten’, and so we went on. So there I was on a Sunday morning, in the car discussing the concepts of infinity and standard index form with my five year old. Concepts that GCSE students can struggle with. Yet all this had come about because she was trying to count. Children learn to count by counting things. They learn to tell the time by asking what the time is – constantly when they’re waiting for something! Then it’s: ‘How many minutes is that until Granny comes?’ Then if it is only a minute or two she will start counting to sixty or a hundred and twenty. Granny had better not be late! These are our opportunities to teach our children maths when they are young, so why not when they are older too? GCSE Maths is changing to bring in more real life use of maths. As our children move into Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 work there is still plenty of opportunity in our everyday life to incorporate maths, to interpret the world in a mathematical way, to set practical challenges for them and prepare them for the future, not just for exams.