Maths in the Study


Maths in the Study

Some people are fortunate enough to have a study within their home, others use a dining room table, bedroom corner or other area in the home.

For this section, we have classed the study as an area for homework, computer(s) and household paperwork.

Let us now look at some of the maths involved in these tasks.


When buying a new computer or device, you need some knowledge of numeracy to get the right one for what you need. It could prove a waste of money if you buy something that isn't suitable for what you need to use it for.

We're not just talking about the basic mathematical skills of calculating how heavy/bulky a laptop is or how much space is required for a tower and/or monitor.

There is also the specifications of the computer/device itself. Processors give values in GHz, operating systems are given in bits, whilst memory and storage are measured in MB/GB/TB.

Screen snippet of device settings highlighting the presence of GHz, bits and GB.

Laptops and devices give remaining battery life in percentages, meaning we then must estimate time remaining before we need to re-charge them.


Printer ink is expensive. Therefore, we need to consider costs when buying and using a printer.

If you are purchasing a printer, you need to find the best deal. This would mean calculating costs. A printer may seem cheap compared to others, but how much do the ink cartridges cost to replace? Sometimes a complete set of ink cartridges can cost more than the original printer. At other times a seemingly expensive printer can save you money in the long-term due to the ink costs.

A selection of printer ink cartridges

A knowledge of measurements regarding paper is also beneficial for printing purposes. There is the obvious sizing, which on home printers tend to be A4 or smaller. Then, there is also the thickness which is measured in gsm (grams per square meter).


This is a necessity of school life, or it is if you wish to avoid detentions.

Even when it's not maths homework, there is still the use of it through timekeeping to prioritise and finish as much as you are able to.

What do you mean, prioritise?

You need to recognise in which order you need to complete your homework. If something is due in the next day, that needs to be completed before something due in next week in case you run out of time.

This does not mean you should only work on whichever homework is due in first but estimate and schedule your time to ensure your best efforts are spread across assignments. For example, you have two big homework tasks to complete, one is due in next Monday, the other the day after. Do not spend all your time working on the one due Monday (because that's the next deadline), or you won't have enough time to complete the other. You would need to find a way to work on both during the week.

Office Programs

Someone working on a laptop using spreadsheet software

Whether it's for schoolwork, homework or personal projects, several office programs can be very helpful, but will still require some numeracy and maths skills.

But spreadsheets do all the maths for you...

Spreadsheets are a great tool for storing and processing data, they can do all the repetitive sums and equations for you. However, you still need to understand what they are to tell the spreadsheet what it needs to do.

Another benefit of spreadsheets is that they can draw the graphs/charts you need. But which type should you use each time? Do you understand what the graph is showing you?

So, it's just spreadsheets that use maths?

No. You can also produce tables, graphs and charts within documents, databases and even presentation slides.

There is then the additional numeracy skills for word counts, slide counts, content arrangement and sizing.


When it comes to money there is a lot of numeracy involved.

Firstly, there's the ability to total up different coin values and notes.

Then there's the maths of calculating the best deals and offers.

When saving up for something you need to understand budgeting.

As you reach adulthood, additional numeracy skills are used to manage your finances. Whether it's getting the best Interest Rate for your savings, or the best deal on a loan/credit card, a knowledge of percentages and how to apply them is massively beneficial.

Investments require additional numeracy applications to assist in making the correct choices.

Finally, there are taxes. What do you pay tax on? How much is the tax? Then making sure you can afford it.

Utility Bills

When you become responsible for household utility bills (such as electricity, water, phone/internet) a little mathematical knowledge can make sure you get the best deals and save on these.

There are also the budgeting skills required to ensure you can pay all these bills on top of other crucial costs, such as; rent/mortgage, council tax, food, loans, credit cards, subscription services, and mobile phone bills.

3D Printers

These are starting to appear in homes and schools across the UK.

Surely these are used for art not maths.

The process of designing a print requires the use of various shapes, vectors, measurements, and scaling

So, I can avoid maths by downloading an already existing design?

This wouldn't work. A design still needs to be 'sliced' to form the correct file for a printer. This process requires the use of temperatures, scaling, percentages, timings, positioning and calculating material needs.

Computer Gaming

Computer games are filled with maths, not just in the programming and graphics, but also the gameplay.

What sort of maths is involved in the gameplay of Minecraft?

When you think about what numeracy is, you can start to identify it in everything. Minecraft is a game where you can build things from blocks. In doing this, you are using numerical skills and knowledge including spatial awareness, shapes, scaling, and ratios.

Ruined skyscrapers built in Minecraft

This is also a game that has an inventory and stack limits, like many other computer games. This leads to using numeracy to know what and how much of something you can carry at a time.

What about in other types of game?

There are lots of examples we can pull on from computer games. We've already touched on a few above, here are a few more

In any game that involves trading and/or shops with in-game currency, requires numeracy skills to budget and make profits/savings to become successful.

Inventories and limited storage space in games require us to use numeracy skills to judge which resources are worth collecting, what we need to focus on and how to make the most of the space we have.

Building games involve spatial awareness to plan our buildings and structures to make the most of the area we have available.

Perhaps a game has waiting times which require time management to ensure we can make the right options as to what and when to commit to long and short-term contracts/builds/upgrades.

How about the in-game/app purchases?

These are very important to understand, especially as they involve real money.

The most important thing is that you should never buy stuff in game without the bill payers' permission.

A version of an in-game loot crate

GETTY Image from BBC (

A lot of games and apps include various bonuses and boosts for those willing to pay. The most popular examples are loot bags/boxes.

These lucky-dip style purchases require an understanding of both odds and statistics to make an informed decision. This also applies to those obtained in game without paying.

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