The best mince pies - Functional Maths tasks

Sparked after reading an article about a UK Which? report in The Guardian newspaper, and made in haste, this resource is aimed at Entry Level 3 (E3) and Level 1 (L1) learners but includes some E1-2 and L2 questions. There is no answer sheet – one might appear later for skillsworkshop contributors – but the teaching notes do include general marking guidance. 

The resource is not intended to emulate formal summative assessment papers. Some questions are purposely challenging and open ended: designed to develop problem solving skills, and a questioning or curious attitude to statistics used in the media. Calculator and non-calculator questions are included. The main topics are: calculating with money, averages, percentages and equivalents, and using rounding to estimate.  

My hope is that the questions prompt whole class (or small group) discussion. For example, the resource could be used to elicit seasonal discussion about:

  • Using rounding to quickly estimate the total cost of a list of items.
  • Comparing rounded totals to exact totals.
  • Strategies for adding up a long list of numbers or prices. E.g. in Q4, add up all the £2.00s first.
  • How statistics are used in newspaper articles and other everyday media.
  • Do different averages (mean, mode, median) give different results? Why? Which one gives the most meaningful or useful result?
  • Learners’ favourite brand of mince pies (or mince pie recipes)!

An accompanying Functional English resource, using the same text, will be available shortly.

Resource File(s)
Physical format
6 page PDF with teaching notes
Free tags


Apologies: Q6 says “Compare and comment on your answers to Q3 and Q4”. It should say “... Q4 and Q5”. I’ll correct this in the PDF as soon as I can.