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Basic science: understanding numbers

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Basic science: understanding numbers Copyright free Icon

This practical, hands-on free course will help you to start thinking like a scientist, by using numbers to describe and understand the natural world.

It might be the size of the Greenland ice sheet, the number of molecules in a raindrop, or the latest set of mind-boggling numbers about climate change presented in the media.

No longer will you be put off by averages or percentages, and you'll even learn to love negative numbers. You will understand and manage numbers like a scientist. The course will introduce all the main skills you'll need to understand and communicate scientific numbers, relate them to the real world, and share your discoveries with other learners.

Requirements

This course is intended for anyone with an interest in numbers and making scientific observations. It does not require mathematical skills or any previous experience of studying the subject.

There are no special requirements for this course but you may like to find a simple calculator in a drawer or on your mobile phone to help you with some of the maths calculations.


This OpenLearn science course is produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education, the educational arm of The Exilarch's Foundation.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand and manage numbers better
  • communicate scientific numbers effectively
  • relate numbers in science to the real world.

First Published: 17/06/2015

Updated: 02/11/2018

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