Advice to teachers

Maths for sustainability uses three elements

  • mathematics, measurements,
  • a place,
  • people

The methodology is to:

  • teach the basic mathematics
  • apply it to a sustainability challenge in general
  • apply it to the real world

The work is more like getting the students to work in a workshop/lab type mode where they are looking at the world and putting themselves in it.

One way to teach is to use the system

  • present the maths
  • explain it
  • structured practice with typical problems
  • freer practice
  • Applied practice (how I would use what I have learnt in my daily life)
  • Applied practice (how what I have learnt is used in the workplace)
  • Applied practice (how what I have learnt can be used to understand sustainable development in the area I live in)

The sustainability exercises can then be used to practice science and maths in context to help students make sense of their world, and to develop critical thinking.

One way to use the exercises is to print the questions out that matches student’s current level of maths. Invite them to solve the problems individually or in groups, and then write the answers up on the board to compare them.

Students can be invited to share their working and different approaches can be compared and discussed.

Another approach is to give them problems that are beyond their knowledge to stimulate ideas about ways to solve them, to get them to search for possible solutions.

The exercises work cross-curriculum as the answers many well generate discussion questions to use in geography, biology, social studies, language studies etc.

Please give us your feedback on any improvements you would like to see to the site here (especially the system of grading and categorising problems) and you are always welcome to author your own problems.

Here are some general instructions for each problem .. you might want to print them out as a general instruction with the problems attached.


Show all your working clearly

Include units is the calculation and show them throughout your working

When you have finished your calculation,  if instructed by your teacher, consider the following questions:

  1. List any practical reasons for why your answer may not reflect any real-life situation
  2. List ways that the results from your calculation might be verified
  3. List any implications for our way of life arising from your calculations
  4. List any further research questions this problem gives rise to

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