stemNRICH - The Living World

 

Welcome to the Living World collection of stemNRICH resources.

In these resources, maths is used as a tool to explore some aspect of the life sciences.  Some might be best used in the maths lesson, with reference made to the science.  Others could be taught as cross-curricular topics. 


Stage 3 is roughly 11-14 years and Stage 4 roughly 14-16 years. The stars indicate how easily most learners can get into the problem, although most problems contain enough depth to challenge and stimulate all.

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Problems with teacher support


The following problems contain detailed teacher support concerning how we might use the task in schools.  However, since these problems are intended to be rich mathematical activities they can be used effectively in many ways and at many levels of sophistication, both in the classroom and by individuals.

Bird Watch

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Do you know which birds are regular visitors where you live?

Reaction Timer

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This problem offers you two ways to test reactions - use them to investigate your ideas about speeds of reaction.

Terrariums

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Build a mini eco-system, and collect and interpret data on how well the plants grow under different conditions.

Food Web

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Is this eco-system sustainable?

Food Chains

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

When a habitat changes, what happens to the food chain?

Does This Sound about Right?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Examine these estimates. Do they sound about right?

Big and Small Numbers in the Living World

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Work with numbers big and small to estimate and calculate various quantities in biological contexts.

Maths Is Everywhere!

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Maths is everywhere in the world! Take a look at these images. What mathematics can you see?

Investigating Epidemics

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Simple models which help us to investigate how epidemics grow and die out.

Flower Power

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Create a symmetrical fabric design based on a flower motif - and realise it in Logo.

Natural Shapes

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How does shape relate to function in the natural world?

Like Father Like Son

Stage: 4 Short Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

What is the chance I will have a son who looks like me?

Biology Measurement Challenge

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Analyse these beautiful biological images and attempt to rank them in size order.

Using the Haemocytometer

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Practise your skills of proportional reasoning with this interactive haemocytometer.

Genetics

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A problem about genetics and the transmission of disease.

Big and Small Numbers in Biology

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Work with numbers big and small to estimate and calulate various quantities in biological contexts.

Investigating the Dilution Series

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Which dilutions can you make using only 10ml pipettes?

Speed-time Problems at the Olympics

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to race against Usain Bolt?

Robot Camera

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Could nanotechnology be used to see if an artery is blocked? Or is this just science fiction?

More or Less?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Are these estimates of physical quantities accurate?

Scientific Measurement

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Practice your skills of measurement and estimation using this interactive measurement tool based around fascinating images from biology.

Counting Dolphins

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How would you go about estimating populations of dolphins?

Bigger or Smaller?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

When you change the units, do the numbers get bigger or smaller?

The Genes of Gilgamesh

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you work out the parentage of the ancient hero Gilgamesh?

Bio Graphs

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

What biological growth processes can you fit to these graphs?

A Question of Scale

Stage: 4 Short Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Use your skill and knowledge to place various scientific lengths in order of size. Can you judge the length of objects with sizes ranging from 1 Angstrom to 1 million km with no wrong attempts?

Weekly Challenge 48: Quorum-sensing

Stage: 4 Short Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

This problem explores the biology behind Rudolph's glowing red nose.

Time to Evolve

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many generations would link an evolutionist to a very distant ancestor?

Choose Your Units

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Which units would you choose best to fit these situations?

How Do You React?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

To investigate the relationship between the distance the ruler drops and the time taken, we need to do some mathematical modelling...

bioNRICH

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

bioNRICH is the area of the stemNRICH site devoted to the mathematics underlying the study of the biological sciences, designed to help develop the mathematics required to get the most from your study of biology at A-level and university.

Alternative Record Book

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

In which Olympic event does a human travel fastest? Decide which events to include in your Alternative Record Book.

Approximately Certain

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Estimate these curious quantities sufficiently accurately that you can rank them in order of size

Problems without specific teacher support


The following problems are without specific teacher notes. These are often problems which would be difficult to fit into a typical curriculum area at school or are very open ended. They will be interesting for students interested in the general subject area to explore alone or for teachers to explore for ideas to bring to their own classrooms.
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