Middlesbrough, Money and Me
In a world of complicated contracts and tangled tariffs, Steph McGovern argues that more needs to be done to ensure we understand the practical maths underpinning modern life.
Steph McGovern returns to her home town of Middlesbrough to ask why we aren’t better equipped to deal with the practical maths that we need to work out phone contracts, energy tariffs and any number of other challenges thrown at us in everyday life. She argues that too much emphasis is put on abstract maths in the school curriculum, and visits a Teesside primary school that is bucking the trend by emphasising practical maths to see what difference it is making. Steph meets university maths lecturer Sven Ake Wegner and hears about his struggles with cucumbers and tax returns, as well as the crucial relationship between theoretical and applied maths. Finally Steph attends the finals of a young enterprise competition to talk with teams of schoolchildren learning about profit, loss and percentages through running their own businesses. Along the way Steph sets a series of puzzles to test the listener’s own ability to make the numbers add up.
Producer: Geoff Bird
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