Maths for the outside world

8th June 2012 at 01:00
Lifeskills mathematics will make the subject seem real for pupils, as Henry Hepburn reports

New mathematics qualifications aim to give young people the skills with numbers and geometry that they will need to get through everyday life.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has published details of National 5 "lifeskills mathematics" and its individual units in managing finance and statistics, geometry and measures, and numeracy.

The managing finance and statistics unit will build skills that apply mathematical ideas to situations which may be new to the learner. These will include analysis of financial positions, budgeting and presentation of data to justify solutions and draw conclusions.

As well as helping to navigate life in the outside world, the unit could support learning in other curriculum areas, such as business, science, social studies and health and well-being, says the SQA.

Expectations of learners in the geometry unit will include: investigating a situation involving gradient; solving a problem involving a composite shape which includes part of a circle; solving a problem involving the volume of a composite solid; using Pythagoras' theorem within a two-stage calculation.

The numeracy unit will expect learners to interpret graphical data, show an understanding of probability, and solve problems involving money, time and measurement.

"Because mathematics is rich and stimulating, it engages and fascinates learners of all ages, interests and abilities," says the SQA. "Learning mathematics develops logical reasoning, analysis, problem-solving skills and creativity."

The SQA offers accounting and finance qualifications from Standard grade through to Advanced Higher, a personal finance award at SCQF level 4, and "skills for work" courses in financial services and retailing, both at Intermediate 2.

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