Maths in the Bathroom


Maths in the Bathroom

What numeracy could there possibly be in the bathroom?

Let us take a look

Basic Numeracy

As with anywhere in the house, we perform everyday actions that involve numeracy without even realising it.

How do you determine when you've finished brushing your teeth?

Toothbrush cartoon image

Do you count how many brushstrokes on each tooth or area? Do you estimate or time how long you spend on the task? How do you measure out the correct amount of toothpaste?

If you are in a household with shared bathroom facilities, how do you time manage to ensure everyone gets to use them in the morning or evening?

What time do you need to get up to fit in a morning shower? How much sleep do you miss out on?

Water Consumption

Having a bathroom with clean running water would be considered a luxury by a lot of people. In 2015, 29% of the world's population (approximately 2.1 billion people) did not have access to safe drinking water*1.

On average, a person in Britain will use 142 litres of water each day*2. Ideally, we need to work together to reduce such an unsustainable level of water usage.

This means we all need to be able to approximate how much water each action will involve, and how to minimise it.

A running bath tap

Why does a shower use less water than a bath?

It means we have to have a basic understanding of water volume to play our part.

How would you calculate how much water your bath would hold?

If nothing else, this will aid in reducing your own household's water bill, saving the bill-payer money.


Saving Energy

As with water, energy is another basic necessity we need to try and help reduce the use of. With climate change and global warming issues arising, the urgency of such measures is growing rapidly.

What has this to do with the bathroom?

The heating of water requires a lot of energy, whether it is through an electric shower or a water boiler, the hotter the water, the more energy it requires.

An electric shower
An image of an electric shower by Alan-Cottey-W-M

The numeracy skills involved in playing our part include estimating, understanding energy consumption and time management


Lots of bathrooms have tiles on the walls, this protects them from water and steam damage. This section is looking at the numeracy required to tile a wall, something you may find yourself needing to do or assist with at home.

A bathroom with tiles on the walls, floor and bath enclosure

This activity will involve measuring, calculating area, how many tiles you will need and how much it will cost

If tiles always came in packs of 8, how many packs would have been used in your bathroom?

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