Where did I use my maths today?

Maths clock is a rather neat activity to get everyone thinking how they use maths in their everyday life.

Maths clock

First, mark down the time you got up and then the time when you arrived at work. Then think where and how you used maths during this period. To start with, even telling the time is about using numbers and maths in everyday situations.

If you want to get creative, you can draw pictures of clocks, mark the time and draw where using everyday maths appeared.

Did you have to figure out how long it’d take to get to the venue of the first meeting of the day? Wouldn’t want to be late, would we? Or is your dog on a diet and needs the kibbles weighed up? What’s the price difference between individual and season tickets for train? How much sugar is actually in this portion of cereal? And what does all that talk about interest rates mean in the news while you were munching that sugary muesli of yours?

And then the working day starts with a whole lot of other things we do with numbers without paying much attention. Despite this many of us say that we don’t like maths or we are afraid of maths while we actually do use maths while going through our regular lives at home and work.

Most of us just need a bit more confidence to get a better grip on how to manage our life with numbers and maths.

Figuring out that interest rate probably is a good indication on how useful it is to be on top of my maths.

For many years unions have been active in helping people to brush up their maths skills proving that maths does not have to be scary. Union learning reps and staff in learning centres are the key people making maths approachable.

Changing attitudes help. Maths can be approached as a problem-solving exercise. Or maybe there is a task at work which will be quicker and easier to complete because of bit more maths confidence.

Kicking off with a friendly assessment with unionlearn’s SkillCheck (online or download an app) is a good start. Or delve into Numeracy Challenge.

When you get going with your colleagues at work with the maths clock, you can start making variations. What maths things cropped up before lunch when you were at work?

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Kirsi Kekki

Kirsi Kekki is a unionlearn policy officer working in the Strategy team. She has worked in a number of trade unions in the UK and Finland with a variety of roles from tutoring to organising and project management.

Kirsi is currently looking after English and maths, adult learning and apprentice policy and support to unions.