Without scientific understanding, we don’t run the government, the government runs us” -Carl Sagan, in his final interview.

Last week we released a big batch of new CC-BY licensed content for Citizen Maths a free online course for adults who want to improve their grasp of maths at what in the UK is known as Level 2 (the level that 16 year old school leavers are expected to reach, though many do not).

The new course content covers the powerful ideas in maths of "uncertainty" and "representation". It sits alongside the content for "proportion" which was published last year.

Learning about each idea is supported by a mix of short video tutorials, practical exercises, and quizzes. The practical exercises use a range of approaches including:

* tools like spreadsheets;

* purpose-built self-standing "apps" of various kinds;

* coding in Scratch.

Each powerful idea is shown in action in several different contexts. For example, "uncertainty" involves the following situations:

* Making decisions — value of insurance, risk comparisons;

* Judging — the meaning of cancer screening results;

* Gaming — appreciating odds in roulette, dice, horse-racing;

* Modelling — the uncertain prediction of the weather.

The powerful ideas and the situations in which they are shown in action have been selected in consultation with maths teachers, and with organisations familiar with the learning needs of adults.

The learning experience is shown, from a learner's point of view in a this four-minute screen-cast:

Citizen Maths is likely to be of use to a range of people including:

* self-motivated adults who want to develop their grasp of maths at Level 2;

* colleges and other learning providers who want to give enrolled learners on additional or alternative route to improving their maths;

* teachers who want to review different approaches to teaching and learning maths;

* parents who want to be better able to help their children with their maths, or even with Scratch, when this is being used within the computer science curriculum.

Citizen Maths is funded by the Ufi Charitable Trust. It is developed by OCR and with advice from the Google Course Builder team.

Here's more about the thinking behind Citizen Maths

(Image: Jonathan Worth, CC BY-SA 4.0)