Maths is essential in helping solve a wide range of real world challenges. STEMNET has developed six classroom resources that enable students to have a go at solving some of these real-life maths challenges for themselves. Each resource features a STEM Ambassador who tackles these types of real-life maths challenges in their day-to-day STEM job role.
All classroom resources can be downloaded, free of charge, at the links below. You can also access interactive case studies of each of the STEM Ambassadors featured at www.stemnet.org.uk/real-life-maths/.
Railways Transport Researcher, Newcastle University
Carrying more freight by rail could help reduce road congestion and lower the carbon emissions caused by freight transport, but freight services must be integrated into existing passenger timetables. Students will complete a passenger timetable for a short section of railway network and analyse possible starting times for freight services to identify which freight journeys might be possible.
Air Engineer, Royal Navy
Taking off, flying and landing, places great stress on airframes, and can cause small cracks to appear and grow over time, especially in high-stress areas. 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.
Research Associate, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol
Longitudinal studies are often used in medical research as they can help spot changes in behaviour, and the health outcomes of these, over many years or even decades. Students will explore why it’s important that fieldworkers in such studies gather data consistently and accurately.
Learning and Development Lead, Laboratory Medicine, University Hospitals Bristol
Doctors and hospital consultants all rely on accurate measurement of patients’ blood cell counts in order to make a reliable diagnosis and identify the right course of treatment. Students will work with decimals to convert blood cell counts per litre into counts in a small sample used in modern automated blood count machines and then use percentages to calculate the acceptable error in blood cell counts from this sample.
Associate Structural Engineer, WSP
Students will use a flow diagram to build a formula to help them calculate the wind force acting on each storey of a tall building. They will use their results to select and cost the right structural option to ensure the building won’t sway in high winds.
Chief Data Scientist, Operational Research Consultancy
Students will consider how a small smoothie company might use predicted weather data to help plan production and meet expected demand from customers, refreshment kiosks at local attractions and public places.