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Smoke Jumpers and their Amazing Wildfire Maths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . METRIC UNITS

December 5, 2016

mathspig-smoke-jumpers 

With wildfires in Texas and now Australia facing the fire season, it is time to think about fire fighter maths.

mathspig-metric-units-fire-math

METRIC UNITS

Background Story

On 5th August 1949 Wag Dodge was dropped by parachute with 14 other fire fighters into Mann Gulch, a steep-sided gully in a Montana pine forest. Fire fighters who parachute in to put out small blazes started by lightening are called Smoke Jumpers. As they worked their way down the sides of the gully the breeze was blowing away from them. But the wind soon shifted. This produced an updraft, which increases the speed of the fire front. The 15 Smoke Jumpers turned and started running for their lives uphill.

HOW FAST CAN YOU RUN?

METRIC UNITS

Time Trial:

Mark out a 10 m course. Make 3 time trials.

t1 =

t2 =

t3=

Average your time:

tav = (t1 + t2 + t3)/ 3 =

Your Speed S = 10/tav = ……… m/sec

mathspig-firefirghter-maths-1

HOW FAST IS A GRASS FIRE?

This will, of course, vary depending on the wind speed. A typical grass fire in Australia in a flat area can travel at 20kph (up to 30 kph) in a gentle breeze.

Fire Front Speed Grass Fire

Fire Front Speed = 20 kph = 20 x1000/(60 x 60)

                               = 20 x 0.27777777 = 20 x 0.28 m/sec

                               = 5.6 m/sec

mathspig-firefighter-maths-2

CAN YOU OUT RUN A FIRE?

Average Running Speed Boy 13–14 yo = 3.0 m/sec

Average Running Speed Girl 13–14 yo = 2.4 m/sec

We’ll assume, boy or girl, that you are really motivated and can run away from the fire at top speed of 3.0 m/sec.

mathspig-fire-fighter-table-1

This is not looking good. See more Firefighters Need Maths here.

We can do very accurate calculations using simultaneous equations. Wildfire Algebra: Detailed Worksheet using simultaneous equations and solutions  here.

NOW YOU ARE RUNNING UP HILL. WHAT HAPPENS?

We’ll assume, due to being motivated by having a fire licking your heels, that you can run at your top speed up hill for a short time, at least. But here is the problem.

Heat rises and so there is a Chimney Effect pushing the fire uphill. The rule of thumb used by fire fighters is:

Each 10º increase in slope, the fire front speed doubles.

mathspig-cfa-diag

mathspig-fire-fighter-table-2

Now you can calculate the distance travelled up a slope at a 30º angle.

Don’t forget you can use the WEB 2.0 Calculator here.

mathspig-fire-fighter-table-3

Even at your top running speed, which is unlikely up a slope, you can run 180 m in 1 minute. In that time the forefront has moved 2688 m or 2.7 km.

It depends how far away you are from the fire front, but it seems you cannot out run this fire front.

Again we can do very accurate calculations using simultaneous equations.

See Firefighters Need Maths here.

Wildfire Algebra: Worksheet and solutions here.

CAN YOU OUT RUN A WILD FIRE?

High winds can turn a bush or forrest fire into a WILD FIRE with wind speeds up to 110 kph and temperatures up to 2000 °C, which can and does melt glass and cars.

The fire front speed doubles with every 10º, so speeds for the fire front can reach 220 kph, 330kph and up to 550kph.

20o-angle-mathspig-2

When the fire front changed direction Wag Dodge and 14 other Smoke Jumpers found themselves running for their lives up a steep slope. What did Wag do next?

ANS: Here’s the amazing thing. Wag realised he could not out run the fire at that point. So he stopped. Took off his back pack. Took out some MATCHES and lit a fire in the grassy patch in front of him. Just before the firewall hit he threw himself face down on the burnt patch. He survived. The other 14 firefighters did not.

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Smoke Jumpers and their Amazing Wildfire Maths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . USA UNITS

December 5, 2016

 

mathspig-smoke-jumpers 

With wildfires in Texas and now Australia facing the fire season, it is time to think about fire fighter maths.

mathspig-usa-units-fire-math

 

USA UNITS

Background Story

On 5th August 1949 Wag Dodge was dropped by parachute with 14 other fire fighters into Mann Gulch, a steep-sided gully in a Montana pine forest. Fire fighters who parachute in to put out small blazes started by lightening are called Smoke Jumpers. As they worked their way down the sides of the gully the breeze was blowing away from them. But the wind soon shifted. This produced an updraft, which increases the speed of the fire front. The 15 Smoke Jumpers turned and started running for their lives uphill.

HOW FAST CAN YOU RUN?

USA UNITS

Time Trial:

Mark out a 30ft course. Make 3 time trials.

t1 =

t2 =

t3=

Average your time:

tav = (t1 + t2 + t3)/ 3 =

Your Speed S = 30/tav   ft/sec

mathspig-firefirghter-maths-1

HOW FAST IS A GRASS FIRE?

This will, of course,  vary depending on the wind speed. A typical grass fire in Australia in a flat area can travel at 12mph (up to 20mph) in a gentle breeze.

Fire Front Speed Grass Fire

Fire Front Speed = 12 mph = 12 x 5280/(60 x 60)

                           = 17.6 ft/sec

                           = 18 ft/sec

mathspig-firefighter-maths-2

CAN YOU OUT RUN A FIRE?

Average Running Speed Boy 13–14 yo = 10 ft/sec

Average Running Speed Girl 13–14 yo = 8 ft/sec

We’ll assume, boy or girl, that you are really motivated and can run away from the fire at top speed of 10 ft/sec and -Wow! – this is easy math.

mathspig-fire-fighter-table-4

This is not looking good. See more Firefighters Need Maths here.

We can do very accurate calculations using simultaneous equations. Wildfire Algebra: Detailed Worksheet using simultaneous equations and solutions  here.

NOW YOU ARE RUNNING UP HILL. WHAT HAPPENS?

mathspig-cfa-diag-usa-units

We’ll assume, due to being motivated by having a fire licking your heels, that you can run at your top speed up hill for a short time, at least. But here is the problem.

Heat rises and so there is a Chimney Effect pushing the fire uphill. the rule of thumb used by fire fighters is:

Each 10º increase in slope, the fire front speed doubles.

mathspig-fire-fighter-table-5

Now you can calculate the distance travelled up a slope at a 30º angle.

Don’t forget you can use the WEB 2.0 Calculator here

mathspig-fire-fighter-table-6

Even at your top running speed, which is unlikely up a slope, you can run 1080 ft in 1 minute. In that time the forefront has moved 8640 ft or 1.6 miles.

You cannot out run this fire front.

Again we can do very accurate calculations using simultaneous equations.

See Firefighters Need Maths here.

Wildfire Algebra Worksheet and solutions  here.

CAN YOU OUT RUN A WILD FIRE?

High winds can turn a bush or forrest fire into a WILD FIRE with wind speeds up to 70 mph and temperatures up to 2000 °C, which can and does melt glass and cars.

The fire front speed doubles with every 10º, so speeds for the fire front in a strong wind can reach 140 mph, 210 mph and up to 280 mph.

20o-angle-mathspig-2

 

When the fire front changed direction Wag Dodge and 14 other Smoke Jumpers found themselves running for their lives up a steep slope. What did Wag do next?

ANS: Here’s the amazing thing. Wag realised he could not out run the fire at that point. So he stopped. Took off his back pack. Took out some MATCHES and lit a fire in the grassy patch in front of him. Just before the firewall hit he threw himself face down on the burnt patch. He survived. The other 14 firefighters did not.

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How to Die from HOMEWORK!

November 29, 2016

mathspig-homework-graph

We are good at graphs in maths, even funny graphs, but we often forget the power of story telling. Here’s a story about HOW NOT TO DO your MATHS HOMEWORK*.

*NOTE: Homework has never been recorded as the cause of death of a 13 year old.

www-gifcreator-me_gfowva

Read longer version of Hugo Does His Homework here.

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Crazy Ways to Make Middle School Maths Cool

November 11, 2016

mathspig-crazy-ways-to-make-maths-cool

mathspig-australia-vs-germany

I started my maths workshop in Hamburg by stirring up some friendly rivalry.  And what better way to do this than by using statistics.

Which is the biggest country?

Australia is 21.5 times the area of Germany. So I counted off 22 workshop participants and pointed to one saying ‘Your’re Germany! Ha!’ Here’s another way to compare areas:

area-of-australia-vs-germany-in-schnauzers

Which country has the largest population?

Germany has 3.5 times the population of Australia.

But the really interesting questions are:

Who drinks more beer?

Who eats more meat?

Here are the answers to these and other interesting questions from the introduction to my workshop with apologies to Brisbane and Perth:

Here are some amazing ways to make middle school maths AMAZING:

1. Defronting the Maths Classroom

2. Amazing German Maths Blog

3. m&ms and Exponential functions

4. Take a Mandelbrot Set Selfie

5. Best Fun with Algebra Ever

6. The Multi-legged Beast that Walks

7. Maths You Hold in Your Hand

8. Are you Maths Blind?

9. Real World Maths Selfies 

10. Magical Music Machine built with Maths

And don’t forget:

Maths News from around the World

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1. Funky, Fab and Fantastic. Yeah! That’s Middle School Maths

November 3, 2016

1-fab-and-funky-middle-school-maths

Funky, Fab and Fantastic INTRO

Building THINKING Classrooms

mathspig-revolution-maths-teaching

peter-liljedahlPeter Liljedahl , Assoc. Professor , Faculty of Edu, Simon Fraser Uni, Canada, has developed a revolutionary way of teaching maths.

He wants students of all levels to get the Aha! Experience in maths class. I met him at the ICME 13 congress in Hamburg.

His research, which extends across 600 Year 7 – 10 maths classrooms shows that his approach is very successful.You will find many examples of his recommendations at the Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces hashtag or VNPS Twitter feed here.

This is what he recommends:

 

………………………….

1. DEFRONT THE CLASSROOM

Students stand around the walls working. Desks allow anonymity and this means students can avoid thinking. Some call this approach 360 maths, but that’s just the beginning.

mathspig-360-maths-mr-olivers-class

In the 360 Math Classroom the desks aren’t needed.

mathspig-360-maths-9th-grade

More info on TEACH here. More on 360 Maths Classroom here.

But wait, there’s more to this.

………………………….

2. USE WHITE BOARDS

White boards proved to be the best non-permanent surface. Students scribbled calculations on the boards and wiped them off. They worked across the surface.

Some teachers even stood tables on end to get enough white board surfaces.In the following youtube clip teacher Lindsay Chinn is piloting 360 degree maths on  whiteboards.

………………………….

3. USE RANDOMLY SELECTED GROUPS

Frequent and visible random selection was very successful. Students accepted the fairness of this approach. And teachers devised all sorts of means of randomising groups. They gave students numbers and drew numbered marbles out of a bowl or pulled names out of a bag.

The groups should consist of 3 or 4 members to be effective.

mathspig-360-maths-jjs-class-pic

Jacob, Morten, Philip and Shania attempt to calculate

where one of them should lie on the floor

to land an m&m from an m&m cannon in their mouth.

This is from fab Jes Jorgensen’s maths class in Denmark.

And here is the youtube clip in Danish.

………………………….

4. PROVIDE OPEN ENDED MATHS TASKS

Here is a numeracy task recommended by Peter Liljedahl.

mylene-abi-zeids-1p-math-class-ontario-canada-2

Here are some students from Mylene Abi-Zeid’s 1P Math Class in Ottowa, Ontario, Canada

working in a decentred classroom on Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces. You will find Mylene’s Twitter feed here.

CELL PHONE PLANS

Students must pay for their own cell phone plans. There are three plans Pay As You Go, Basic Plan and Easy 4 U Plan. Costs are defined. Students must write an explanation that will convince their parents this is the best plan for them.

You’ll find open ended maths tasks for all levels here.

Plus some card tricks here.

And an excellent summary of Peter Liljedahl’s revolutionary ideas here.

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2. Funky, Fab and Fantastic. Yeah! That’s Middle School Maths

October 19, 2016

funky-fab-2

Funky, Fab and Fantastic INTRO

IMAGINARY

IMAGINARY is a German website where ART and MATHS combine. It is AMAZING.

Schools, museums, students, anyone can download interactive Computer Programs like MORENAMENTS (below) to create art, maths demonstrations and public exhibitions. IMAGINARY also contains maths/art films, an art gallery, programs for printing 3D-sculptures, maths texts and exercises, and more.

morenaments-interactive-program

………………………………………………………

It is FREE.

It is written in ENGLISH.

Here are a few highlights picked by Mathspig, but you have to explore the website yourself.

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SURFER

………………………………………………………………….surfer-1surfer-2

 SURFER is a program that allows you to put in any equation and test the resulting 3D image. There is a brief video explaining how it works and you can download the program here.

………………………………………………………………….

WORKSHEETS

You can download worksheets for every school level, but get ready. Here is a worksheet for 5-7 year olds. But why not? Five year olds can look at sheet music without running away screaming, why not show them ALGEBRA too?

imaginary-worksheet-5-7-year-old

………………………………………………………………….

Mathematicians Just Wanna Have Fun

The following videos show mathematicians having fun! If your middle-school students think maths is ‘boring’ show them just one of these videos.

 

Explore IMAGINARY. Enjoy.

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3. Funky, Fab and Fantastic. Yeah! That’s Middle School Maths

October 10, 2016

3-funky-fab-and-fantastic

Funky, Fab and Fantastic INTRO

mathspig-at-icme-hamburg-2016Mathspig tried the m&m Algebra Challenge in her ICME 13 Workshop in Hamburg.

BUT … I bought PEANUT m&ms. OH Nooooooooo!

They were the WRONG SHAPE. Deformed m&ms bounced everywhere. All I could do was collect the m&ms in my gloved hands and hand them out to the workshop participants. They seemed to enjoy the failure.

But Mathspig does not give up that easily.

Here is the m&m ALGEBRA CHALLENGE with PLAIN m&ms.

The Great m+m ALGEBRA CHALLENGE

Method:

1. Open a packet of PLAIN m&ms. (Wear white Gloves like the m+ms)

2. TIP onto table. (Put a few books around the edge to define an area.)

3. Sort the m&ms into:

m -UP pile.

m-DOWN pile.

4. REMOVE the m-UP pile.

5. PICK up m-DOWN pile and TIP again.

6. REPEAT until only 1 m+m is left.

The pattern should follow the exponential equation here:

mm-equation

Did it work? Check it out below.

www-gifcreator-me_qjuoel

Who knew one family packet had 366 m+ms?

You’ll find a worked ‘theoretical’ example here.

mm-table

Here’s the ANSWER:

mm-algebra-challenge-answers

Try it. Middle school students have to see

that applying maths in the real world can be tricky but logical.

And a lot of FUN too.