Euler's characteristic: Maths is an important part of everyday life. Explore some real-world applications of maths learnt at school

From the obvious examples such as shopping, making sure everyone gets a slice of pizza and planning a trip, to the more obscure such as making phone apps or calculating the best angle for the perfect shot on goal, maths is an important part of everyday life.Portrait of Leonhard Euler

In this session, students can explore some real-world applications of maths they learn at school. This activity should fill a club timeslot as a one-off project.

There are many maths equations that have changed the way we look at the world. One equation that has had an impact in many areas, from computing to the shape of a football, is Euler’s characteristic.

The resource contains a case study of the CEO of a company specialising in engineering and computational science, with the aim of benefiting people using computers and mathematics.

The activity

What you need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

What to do

  • Understand Euler's characteristics
  • Construct the nets and make a selection of platonic solids
  • The Seven bridges of Konigsberg' problem
  • Explanation of Euler's characteristic and circuit theorem

Engineering is ...

The image of an engineer that students often have in their heads is one of a person (normally aman) working in a hard hat.

Engineering is so much more than that.

Engineering is the designing, testing, manufacturing and improving of products to do something useful. It is the application of science, maths and creative skills to achieve a goal.