Maths all around you – shining a mathematical spotlight on where you live Maths in the City (set up in 2011 and shut down in 2016) was an excellent website for helping in teaching about mathematics around us – in showing pupils the huge range of ways maths is used all around them wherever they live. Although the title is “Maths in the City,” the ideas shown here are applicable wherever we live in the country – buildings, roads, cars, buses, trains, bikes, parks and gardens crisscrossed with power, water, sewage and transport systems, whether designed by engineers, architects and planners or technologists, designers, artists or others. Each in part is built on mathematics.

Maths in the City had a wide range of examples of images, stories, and explanations contributed by young and old, pupils, students, and teachers, and people in many other walks of life – and each with a range of ages in mind as audience. The Maths in the City project was led by Professor Marcus du Sautoy, mathematician, author and broadcaster.

Even though the Maths in the City site is no longer active it was set up to encourage you and your class to create examples of mathematics near to you too – to shine a mathematical spotlight on their location. That might be photographs of shapes and tesselations in a building, it might be the way curved lines have been drawn out on a road, it might be illustrating how proportion is used for effect in windows, doors and buildings, it might be measuring spaces for people in vehicles. You can create an online space to share interesting examples of maths in the environment, explanations of some maths you see around you or demonstrations of your mathematical ideas on the street. You can write about an idea near you, or take photos, videos or record podcasts to tell your story, or produce images to include in your site.

The maths doesn’t have to be difficult. It might be examples of the role familiar shapes such as triangles, squares and hexagons have in our buildingsor trying to understand and explain the technical challenges of creating iconic buildings or structures. It might be a common feature of every city, or something special to a particular building, maths concepts such as tiling, symmetry, 2d or 3D shapes, volume, diameter or many other maths – make the link for pupils between  mathematics and aspects of geography, history, art, world of work and outdoor learning.


Examples of other “Maths Around You” sites

If you are looking to develop a Maths trail aimed at use with school-age pupils the following may provide inspiration of ideas to make your own maths trail for pupils for the area near your school, and then add yours to the Maths in the City site above so they can be found by others too.


The links below provide maths activities devised by Gerry McMenemy, teacher at Falkirk Council’s Graeme High School. There’s activity sheets ready for printing and using with secondary pupils as well as a PowerPoint presentation. These include numeracy calculation tasks incorporating the skills of division, average, percentage, multiplication, fractions, algebra, Pi, formulae for diameter and circumference, and scale. Click on the links here to access these resources: The Falkirk Wheel PDF and The Falkirk Wheel show

Edinburgh Royal Mile Maths Trail

Durham City Maths Trail

Wherever you are there is maths around you – the links above should help find ways to help pupils find that.


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