All you need is maths!

Maths. The very word can strike fear into our hearts and remind us of dreary lessons at school. Like it or not, maths is all around us and we use it more than you think. We're putting our bad memories of Pythagoras's theorem to one side and celebrating the maths that we use every day.

Here are 10 ways that you use maths without even realizing it.

1. Cooking

When you're cooking a recipe, you're constantly using maths to measure out ingredients, adjust cooking times, and convert between imperial and metric measurements. Want to make a cake twice the size of the recipe? You need to use multiplication. Making dinner for four people instead of eight? You need to use division. Being able to measure and convert well helps you cook great food on a budget.

2. Budgeting

Whether you're planning a holiday or just trying to cope with the cost of living crisis, you need to use maths to budget your money effectively. Understanding how to calculate unit costs can help you lower your energy bills. Knowing how to calculate interest can help you make sure you’re getting a good deal on your credit card.

3. DIY

If you're doing DIY or decorating your house, you need to use maths to measure out materials and calculate angles. You might need to work out how much paint you need to buy for a room, measure shelves for an alcove or calculate how many tiles you need for a floor. Mastering these maths skills makes sure you never order too many materials – or not enough.

4. Travel

If you're going on holiday, you need to use maths to figure out distances and time zones. Maybe you need to plan the shortest route in distance or the quickest route in time. You can also use maths to calculate what is the cheapest way to get there: whether that's by plane, train or driving.

5. Time

Time is a tricky concept, but it's something we use every day. From making sure you’ve left enough time to get to an appointment to knowing when you need to check on something in the oven, mastering time helps you to plan your day.

6. Gardening

If you're a keen gardener, you need to use maths to calculate how much soil you need for your plants, how much water they need, and how much plant food to use in your watering can. You can also use geometry to plan out your garden beds or build a support for your broad beans.

7. Health and fitness

When you're exercising, you need to use maths to track your progress. You might need to calculate how many calories you've burned, how many steps you take each day or how much weight you've lifted. It can also help you work out what to eat – what is healthy and how you can balance your meals.

8. Bargain hunting

When you're shopping, you need to use maths to work out whether a deal is worth it. Is two for one a better deal than three for a pound? How much will you actually save with a 25% discount? Improving your maths skills will help you become a savvy shopper.

9. Sports

If you're a fan of sports, you need to use maths to keep track of scores and statistics. You can use maths to calculate batting averages in cricket or percentage possession at football.

10. Sewing and crafts

If you're a crafty crafter, you’ll need to use maths in measurement, counting and pattern making. You'll also be required to work out exactly how much material you need before you start a project and how much it will cost.

As you can see, maths is everywhere! If you're feeling a bit intimidated by all this talk of numbers, don't worry - WEA can help. We offer adult maths courses that can help you build your skills and confidence. These courses are designed to be fun, friendly, and accessible, and they're a great way to improve your numeracy skills in a supportive environment.

So why not give it a go? You might be surprised at how much you enjoy learning about maths, and how much more confident you feel using it in your everyday life.

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About the author

Jessica Holloway Swift

Employability & Skills Marketing Manager

Jess is an experienced marketing manager with a special interest in employability marketing and learner engagement.