The Importance of Mathematics in the Trades

As part of our #SteamBuilders project, we are convinced that a more practical approach to scientific disciplines can motivate students and interest them in pursuing scientific careers in the future.

For several years now, in the spring, the BatiTmaths event, proposed by Fermat Science, with the support of the Region Occitanie, has enabled students from secondary schools to discover the building and surveying trades at the Norman Foster high school in Beaumont-de-Lomagne.

By showing them how science and in particular mathematics is present in all aspects of life, especially in the building trades, and by using multidisciplinary teaching methods, we stimulate the students’ interest in understanding the world around them.

Mathematics goes everywhere!

The aim is to promote mathematics by showing young people how it is used in practice in different professions, but also to work on the skills included in the national education programs for secondary school pupils. In this way, they realise the importance of mathematics and the usefulness of this subject, whose applications are encountered in everyday life.

An Example of the workshop…

Public works: Calculate the slope of a pavement and then draw the perpendicular on a building site.

Problem given to the students:

A team of public works workers are laying the pedestrian networks of a city.

Sidewalks are an essential element of pedestrian networks because they isolate the pedestrian from the dangers of road traffic.

– Workshop 1: The pupils will follow the protocol proposed by the older students and, after measuring, will apply the formula for calculating the slope in %.

– Workshop 2: The pupils will follow the protocol by applying the 3-4-5 rule to construct a right-angled triangle (practical application of the Pythagorean theorem).

They will mark this perpendicular with a string.

As a bonus, the pupils were able to work on how to express themselves clearly to present their work in order to reach an audience and, for the youngest, to get involved in their future career path thanks to a reflection on their orientation. Positive things for all!


This article was written by Thomas Ricaud and Jordanne Bonnet from Fermat Science, an association that aims to promote and popularize mathematics and science, heritage and culture through the character and work of the famous mathematician Pierre Fermat.