Everyday maths 1
Everyday maths 1

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Everyday maths 1

9.2 Function machines

Described image
Figure 28 A function machine

Function machines can help when you are working with any formula that has more than one step. The difference between formulas and function machines is that you must follow a function machine in the correct order from left to right, or top to bottom, as shown in the example below. In the Level 2 course on maths you will see that when you use formulas, the BIDMAS rule must be followed.

Example: Marathon training

Dominic wants to run a marathon in under four hours. He finds the following method to work out his expected marathon time:

Described image
Figure 29 A function machine flow chart

Dominic’s best time for a practice run is 98 minutes. If he runs a marathon at the same pace, will he complete it in less than four hours?

Method

Dominic’s best practice run is 98 minutes, so you need to put 98 as the first number in the function machine:

98 × 2 + 30 = expected marathon time

98 × 2 + 30 = 226 minutes

So to answer the question: yes, if Dominic runs a full marathon at the same pace he runs during practice, he would finish the marathon in under four hours.

Now you have read the example, please have a go at the following activity.

Activity 22: Using function machines

  1. The battle of the bands will take place in the youth club hall.
    Described image
    Figure 30 A youth club

    Shazad uses the following rule to find out the number of people allowed in any hall:

    Described image
    Figure 31 A function machine flow chart

    What is the number of people allowed in the youth club hall?

Answer

If you were to write the function machine as a formula, it would look like this:

  • (Area of hall in square metres × 2) – 10 = number of people allowed in the youth club hall

The area of the hall in square metres is:

  • 10 × 20 = 200 m²

So we would replace ‘Area of hall in square metres’ in the formula with 200:

  • (200 × 2) – 10 = 390

So the maximum number of people allowed in the youth club hall is 390 people.

  1. Simon meets a trainer at the leisure centre to set fitness goals. The trainer uses the following rule to calculate Simon’s BMI:

    • Simon’s weight in kg ÷ 3 = Simon’s BMI

    One of Simon’s fitness goals is to have a BMI between 19 and 25.

    He currently weighs 72 kg. Is he meeting his fitness goal?

Answer

Simon’s weight is 72 kg so the calculation is:

  • 72 ÷ 3 = 24

Simon’s BMI is 24, so he has met his fitness goal.

  1. Lena makes candles in containers. She knows a rule to work out how much wax she needs (measured in grams) to use for each container (measured in ml):
    Described image
    Figure 32 A function machine flow chart

    Lena has a container that holds 200 ml. How many grams of wax should Lena use in this container?

Answer

If you were to write the function machine as a formula, it would look like this:

  • (Amount container holds in ml ÷ 10) × 9 = wax needed in g

The container is 200 ml, so we would replace ‘Amount container holds in ml’ in the formula with 200:

  • (200 ÷ 10) × 9 = 180

So the maximum amount of wax needed for each container is 180 g.

  1. Kofi sells souvenir photographs to visitors at the karting centre. The cost price of each photo is £2.

    Kofi uses this rule to work out the selling price of each photo that will cover his costs and make a profit:

    Described image
    Figure 33 A function machine flow chart

    Kofi thinks that the photos should be sold for £8. Is this correct?

Answer

If you were to write the function machine as a formula, it would look like this:

  • (Cost price × 375) ÷ 100 = selling price

The cost price is £2, so we would replace ‘Cost price’ in the formula with 2:

  • (2 × 375) ÷ 100 = 7.5

So the selling price should be £7.50, not £8.

You have now completed the section on working with word formulas and function machines. If you did not get the questions correct, please return to them and identify where you went wrong.

Summary

In this section you have learned about working with word formulas and function machines.

FSM_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus