Mathematics in Building Construction
Using Easy Cards

If you are interested in mathematics in building construction you can join a small select group of people receiving maths cards on a regular basis?

All I ask in return is a brief feedback on any cards you feel brave enough to work on.  

Mathematics in building construction is used  in Architecture using topics such as Geometry, Trigonometry and Algebra.

There is even hidden mathematics in the garden.

For many years I have combined teaching maths with a small building business.

On one occasion - while I was teaching - several pupils asked me to teach from the blackboard instead of using the text book. I was happy to comply with their request because I could see they were struggling.

I split the class in two. Those that preferred the text book and those that preferred a slower pace of work by working from the blackboard. And this new arrangement worked well.

It got me thinking that there must be many people who found maths hard at school  because they struggled with text book exercises but were too young or shy to say anything.

So how could I show people young and not so young how to get better with maths without this upheaval in their lives. Without text books and a slower pace more fitting with the way they could learn comfortably.

One day I was at a meeting and got talking to someone about a new type of maths called Smile Maths. It was based on cards and practical projects and was very popular.

Maybe it was just the thing I was looking for.

It was an Inner London Education Authority - ILEA - initiative.

In a 2001 survey 135 high schools, colleges in London, uk cities and abroad were using Smile Maths. ( Reference Splash Newsletter September 2001).

Before I show you a card let me explain that Smile maths started in the seventies and carried on into 2000s when the funding was cut by the ILEA. A few cards are little dated but this has no bearing on their quality and their significant learning potential.

Here is an example of a Smile Maths card. Answers are at the bottom of the page.

Mathematics in Building Construction

Some time later I had the opportunity to teach Smile maths for a year in a south London high school.

After moving to Norwich I spent some years teaching Smile Maths as a Visiting Tutor around Norfolk visiting students at their homes or in small groups.

A friend of mine was an architect. He had won awards for his designs. And confided in me one day that he was not any good at maths but he had always managed to work around it.

You could say that this is quite unusual in the architectural circles.

He was an intelligent man and I suspect learning maths from text books may have been a problem for him.

My wife has a boundless interest and a degree in maths and this maybe because she had learnt maths using Smile cards or something very similar.

I have my own materials and I look forward to including my cards here which you can use. The topics will be Geometry and Algebra to begin with as they are relevant to building and construction.

All other topics are covered if and when requested.

After the ILEA cuts Smile Mathematics resources were taken over by Stem.org.uk who now supply Smile Cards and many other resources.

Answers to Smile 732

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Mathematics in Building and Construction

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