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It would be good if people knew …

September 1, 2018

If you haven’t picked up on this yet, I’m starting to teach the Core Maths course (AQA) from September. Part of the course is estimation questions like “How much liquid would a small town consume in a month?” and this raises the question “Do people know a reasonable estimate for the population of a town?” (Do you?).

This sparked a thought along the lines of what things it might be helpful to prompt students into finding out just so they feel more confident about answering these questions. What is the population of the UK? How long would a car be? And so on.

Next, I realised that this isn’t really something that would only be useful to Core Maths students and I also thought that other people would come up with good ideas too, so I turned to Twitter. Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of good ideas and here’s my collated list. The ordering is somewhat arbitrary and you may well decide that some aren’t that important for your needs. That’s fine – use it as you wish. Perhaps these could also spark tutor time discussions!

Thank you to everyone who contributed ideas.

Population of the UK
Life expectancy in the UK
Average adult height
Average adult weight
Average UK temperature
How many countries are there?
Weight of an apple
Height of a house
Height of a door
How many people fit on a bus?
What temperature would be gloves and scarves weather?
Diameter of the Earth
How far away is the sun?
Population of a large town
Population of a small town
What temperature would be t-shirt and shorts weather?
Population of the world
Average hours of sleep per night
Weight of a melon
Average car length
Average car width
Width of the UK
Length of the UK
How many primary schools in the UK?
How many secondary schools are in the UK?
How many teenage pregnancies were there last year?
What proportion of the UK are over 65?
Volume of water in a bath
Water used per shower
Days in a year
How many people can a theatre hold?
How far away is the moon?
Average car petrol tank capacity
Average car miles per gallon
Average distance an electric car can go on a full charge.
Average family size
Weeks in a year
How many people are unemployed?
How many people fit on a train?
How much water does a flush use?

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