Practical maths is important and necessary or else students may start to think that mathematics only exists inside a text book or classroom. Real world situations give students a context in which they can apply the skills they have been learning or are about to learn.
Today a colleague commented that his students were often unable to interpret a worded problem, and so were unable to decide which skills were needed. Mathematical literacy needs a lot more attention to address these deficiencies.
Most teachers keep an assortment of such tasks. One such task that I use is designing a tent. There are opportunities for students to estimate, draw a net, calculate areas and use pythagoras’ theorem.
You can get my worksheet by clicking on the Scribd icon at right and then downloading Design a Tent.doc
Have you got any favourite application tasks?