When will I ever use that? Giving students opportunity to see the direct application of modelling techniques in the real world.


  • Ros Porter Sheffield Hallam University
  • Hannah Bartholomew Sheffield Hallam Univeristy




Modelling, skills, employability, reflection.


Mathematical modelling is unfamiliar to many young mathematicians and can be a source of anxiety for many. Although many first year mathematics undergraduates will have used mathematical models throughout GCSE and A Level most are unaware of this. Very few understand what a mathematical model is, fewer still the concept of building a model. In our experience students are reluctant to try and build their own models and fail to see the value of modelling skills in the real world. We invited 3 speakers to attend a first year modelling lecture to talk about the models they use in their jobs with the intention that this would help students see that modelling skills and analytical thought processes are valuable tools for a maths graduate. The speakers had different employment backgrounds being from banking, research (chemistry) and transport engineering. Each spoke for approximately 10 mins. giving an outline of their field. The lecture was followed by tutorials in which students were asked to reflect on what the speakers had said and how this related to their own learning. Two of the speakers also attended the tutorials and were able to have more informal conversations with the students.

Author Biographies

Ros Porter, Sheffield Hallam University

Senior Lecturer Mathematics

Hannah Bartholomew, Sheffield Hallam Univeristy

Senior Lecturer Mathematics


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