Maths Skills in Biology: TES Maths Resource of the Week

To see all of the work I do for TES Maths, including Resource of the Week, Inspect the Spec, Pedagogy Place, Maths Newsletters and Topic Collections, please visit the TES Maths Blog here

What is it?
A common issue in schools I have worked in nd been lucky enough to visit is promoting effective “numeracy across the curriculum”. This is one of those phrases that is easy to say, but hard to implement. Maths creeps its way into many subjects, and yet devising a coherent way of talking about concepts, carrying out various skills, and setting work out seems to elude maths schools. And this is a problem, because if students are used to doing things a certain way in one subject, but then a different way in another subject, maths becomes the disjointed, abstract subject that too many students already perceive it to be.

That is where this resource comes into play. It is a lesson on Maths skills needed for the new Combined Science GCSE (9-1) with a focus on Biology content. And the range of skills covered is immense, including Comparing Data, Analysing Graphs, Calculating the Mean, Mode & Median, Calculating Percentages and more.

How can it be used?
As the author explains, the lesson is intended to be a circus activity with all of the topics around the room for students to move around between and then mark at the end of the lesson. However, it could easily be done as a teacher lead lesson, or broken up and slotted into lessons across a longer time period.It could be joint-planned by members of both the maths and science departments to help promote a consistent approach.

When done correctly – and I believe resources like this are a positive step in that direction – numeracy across the curriculum can become a blessing a not a curse. It can help students practice key mathematical concepts in a variety of contexts, this benefiting from key findings from cognitive science, such as the spacing effect. It also helps students see the power and importance of mathematics, which can only be a good thing.

Thanks so much for sharing
Craig Barton

Download: Maths Skills in Biology
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