A level Maths isn’t for you, but you’re planning to study courses that have some mathematical content to them? Then Core Maths is a great option to consider!
In a recent survey of maths that people wished they’d learnt at school, more than 5 of the items appear in the Core Maths syllabus. The course contains elements of:
Personal finance: the maths of income tax and national insurance and student loans; and how to make decisions regarding mortgages; insurance; credit cards and borrowing
- Estimation: so amongst other things, you’ll also be able to make predictions e.g additional nurse hours required to deliver NHS flu jabs, or cost of building an extension.
- Use and abuse of statistics: will support your work in your other subjects, but will also teach you to be critical of statistics thrown at you every day in the media
Since the content is all set in real world contexts, students who complete the course are surprised by just how much they enjoy it!
In the first term of the Core Maths course students use real life contexts to solve problems, highlighting consolidation work that may be required from higher level GCSE content. This is then addressed by the student on an individual basis during the skills sessions, in the same week.
Aspects returned to in a variety of contexts before the first Christmas include: conversion of units of measurement; ratios and percentages - loans and saving; use of spreadsheets; statistical calculations and data distribution comparisons.
In the second term students consider more elements of personal finance, such as how to calculate income tax, National Insurance and student loan payments due. This again requires students to consider their level of understanding of percentages and use of spreadsheets.
Integrated within this work, are strands of problem solving taught as longer projects, such as Singapore Airlines flight timetable, and pilot timetables are built to increasing levels of complexity.
Another common element each week is some form of estimation problem. This builds the student’s confidence in making order of magnitude predictions for what initially sound like impossible problems to solve.
The final term of the first year would be consolidating on the content covered, and continuing to utilize this in a variety of real contexts.
The second year of study makes use of much of the material and basic capabilities acquired in year 1, but now with higher technical level topics.
There are 3 choices of paper, and the group will normally compete the syllabus material for two of the papers, before making a final choice of which single paper 2 they each wish to be entered for.
The end of the summer term, and whole of the Autumn term in Year 2, is spent covering the optional paper 2 content.
Advanced statistical analysis: the Normal Distribution, correlation and regression, or
Critical Path Analysis, conditional probability, Risk Estimation, Cost benefit analysis, or
Graphical analysis and modelling such as rates of change, speed and acceleration; and exponential functions, exponential growth and decay
From the start of the spring term of year 2 the group utilize and consolidate all material covered, by means of extended projects.
As an example, the first spring half term is spent on an open ended group project. In which each group decides on a company to start up: researches business aspects of such a company and prepares a business plan which they present to the ‘bank’ (the class) for set up finance. Subsequent activities would employ year 2 material: i.e. Critical Path Analysis to project plan the build and set up of premises, or statistical analysis of products to be used or sold.
Students need a minimum of a grade 4 in Maths GCSE.
Core Maths can be combined with either A level or BTEC courses.
This course is essential for students that are not studying A level Maths.
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