Topical Applications of Mathematics

These resources were produced by the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching in
collaboration with the Clothworkers Company and other related organisations.

To view most of these resources you will need to have installed Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The interactive resources below are continually being developed. If you discover any problems
with them or have any comments you would like to make about them please email Russell Geach.

Pupil Interactive Resources
Click on a heading to go to that resource.
Champions League Draw
The 2008 Champions League quarter-final is unique in that it is the first time that 4 teams from the same country (England) have progressed this far. The resource looks at possible outcomes for the draw and the effect they have on the English clubs.
A resource filled with activities using the mathematics involved in darts.
The braille system, devised in 1821 by Frenchman Louis Braille, is a method that is widely used by blind people to read and write. Each braille character or cell is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle containing two columns of three dots each, and each dot may be either raised or flat. This resource shows how to work out how many braille codes there are.
EAN Bar Codes (1)  EAN Bar Codes (2)
A barcode (also bar code) is a machine-readable representation of information (usually dark ink on a light background to create high and low reflectance which is converted to 1s and 0s). Originally, barcodes stored data in the widths and spacings of printed parallel lines, but today they also come in patterns of dots, concentric circles, and text codes hidden within images. Bar codes are widely used in retail to store prices of items sold in shops.
Lorenz Cipher Machine
The Lorenz SZ 40 and SZ 42 were German cipher machines used during World War II for teleprinter circuits. While the well-known Enigma machine was generally used by field units, the Lorenz machine was used for high-level communications which could support the heavy machine, teletypewriter and attendant fixed circuits. The machine itself measured 51cm 46cm 46cm (20in 18in 18in), and served as an attachment to a standard Lorenz teleprinter. The machines implemented a stream cipher.
Earthquakes occur all the time, ranging from minimal seismic activity, that is is only detected by machines, to strong quakes that can cause serious structural damage to buildings. There are roughly 4 of these strong earthquakes each year and when they happen in urban areas, as happened in Turkey and Pakistan in recent months, many casulaties occur.
Rankings in Sport
Rankings are used extensively in sport in order to compare abilities of teams and players. The context used here is that of the performance of batsmen in cricket.
The Semaphore flag signalling system is an encoded alphabet system based on the waving of a pair of hand-held flags in a particular pattern. The flags are held, arms extended, in various positions representing each of the letters of the alphabet. The pattern resembles a clock face divided into eight positions: up, down, out, high, low, for each of the left and right hands.
World Championship for Test Cricket  [Updated for the Ashes]
The ICC Test Championship was started in 2001 to give an extra competetive edge to Test cricket and to indicate which side truly was the greatest Test team in the world. Calculating teams' ratings involve some simple mathematical algorithms.
Date of Easter
Calculating the date of Easter requires a complex algorithm that incorperates both the Gregorian and Jewish calendars. This resource illustrates how the algorithm works.
Fruit Machines
Fruit machines are common place in casinos, amusement arcades and pubs. How likely are you to win money on a fruit machine? This resources shows one way in which fruit machines work.
Reading Age Formulae
It is important for teachers to determine how suitable a piece of reading material is for their pupils. This resource illustrates three formulae for estimating the reading age for a passage of text.
Physical Fitness
Physical fitness is a key component to having a healthy body. The World Health Organisation defines healthy as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". There are several methods avaibale to test the physical fitness of a person.
National Lottery
Since it began in 1994, the National Lottery has had over 1000 draws and more 2000 million pound plus Jackpot winners. How likely are you to be a future Jackpot winner?
Penalty Shoot-Outs
The 2006 Football World Cup enters the quarter-final stage at the weekend and one of the ties will probably be settled by a penalty shoot-out. Create your own World Cup penalty shoot-out scenarios with this simulation resource.

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