(Not as) easy as one, two, three

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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

Recent research has shown that adult numeracy in the UK is of concern, with many of those surveyed struggling to work out the answers to questions about pay rises, exchange rates and savings accounts.

I have to admit that maths isn’t my strong point; I’m definitely more of a wordsmith. Even though I passed my maths O level with flying colours, I had to write everything down. I could never work out sums in my head.

Many of the maths skills I learned at school have very little relevance to my life today. I would have been better equipped if I’d spent a few weeks in front of a dartboard, learning how to subtract quickly and work out doubles.

With this in mind, I’ve created my own set of questions which reflect, more accurately, the type of number problems I’m faced with today.

1. You have two different vouchers for a local restaurant. One is ‘2 for 1’ on main meals and the other is 30 per cent off all food. Which voucher offers the best value for your family of four if two people order garlic bread and someone insists on a 

2. If you sow beetroot seeds in a raised bed measuring 1m x 2m, in rows 20cm apart, with 6cm between each seed, how many plants will you harvest before you realise you didn’t like beetroot in the first place?

3. If it takes one man two hours to dig a hole 4ft x 3ft, how many minutes will pass before his wife tells him it’s in the wrong place?

4. If a dress is reduced by 30 per cent in the summer sale, what is the probability that a) there isn’t one in your size and b) a dress that fits perfectly isn’t in the sale?

5. The distance between Spalding and Newcastle is 200 miles. What time will you reach your mother’s house travelling at an average speed of 60 miles per hour with two loo stops, one meal deal and a diversion round Doncaster?

6. You exchange £200 for euros at a rate of 1.14 euros to the pound. When does it dawn on you that you’ve booked a holiday to Norway where the currency is the krone?

7. A multipack of Rolos weighing 208g costs £1.50 in the supermarket. A sharing pouch, weighing 126g, also costs £1.50. How many extra Rolos will you get for your money if you buy the multipack and how many packets will you scoff before you 
remember to leave the last one for someone you love?

• You can read Trish’s blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk