The Open University’s contribution to the PPLATO Project includes an electronic version of the course book for the Open University course ‘Maths for science’. This course was intended for independent study, thus the resource can be used with minimal guidance from teaching staff. The electronic version includes indexing and linking. It may be used by students whose mathematics is generally weak, or as a reference point for those who discover that their higher level maths skills are limited because of a lack of knowledge at a lower level. For example, a student who is struggling to manipulate algebraic fractions can use the resource both as a summary of the principles involved and as a reference back to arithmetic fractions. The mathematics in ‘Maths for science’ is generally at a more elementary level than that in ‘HyperFlap’.

‘Maths for science’ assumes some knowledge of arithmetic, but other topics, such as the addition and multiplication of fractions, are taught. Students are introduced to scientific notation, significant figures and SI units. Algebraic techniques, such as rearranging and combining equations are taught from first principles. Students are also introduced to logarithms, radians, trigonometry, the gradient and equation of straight line graphs, differentiation and some scientific uses of statistics and probability. Worked examples are provided throughout and detailed solutions are provided to the questions in the text. The mathematics is all taught in a scientific context, with a brief explanation of the science involved provided when necessary. Most of the questions and worked examples have a scientific flavour.

More information about the Open University course ‘Maths for science’ is available at http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/