As the weather improves – Spring in Melbourne, my city & Fall in USA & Autumn in the UK – it is an ideal time to take math outdoors. Here are some fab exercises for Middle School Math.

Lego Man soccer fields will vary in size depending on the height of each player picked by each student. This does your head in. It is really challenging maths!

You’ll find full calculations at the Maths is Fun blog.

You’ll find more fab outdoor junior and middle school maths activities at the terrific Maths and Movement blog.

Some students will discover their co-ordinate point is not on the grid. Students should then work out that they will need a different scale for the y-axis. You can get more inspiration at the Stand Again blog.

It doesn’t matter what’s written in the curriculum, the biggest problem in maths for students is

BOREDOM.

Here, to tackle boredom are:

41 Maths things to do before you’re 12

“A growing body of research shows us that outdoor play leads to better physical and mental health, has positive effects on cognitive function and learning, and reduces the incidence of behavioural problems.” Maria Zotti, Nature Play, SA.

Peter Dunstan, Principal Kilkenny PS, SA, writes in SAPPA magazine, Primary Focus, that outdoor play fosters “wonderment, independence and freedom” as well as “social skills, imagination, creativity and problem solving”.

Inspired by SAPPA and NaturePlay, Mathspig has produced her own outdoorsy maths list:

“A growing body of research shows us that outdoor play leads to better physical and mental health, has positive effects on cognitive function and learning, and reduces the incidence of behavioural problems.” Maria Zotti, Nature Play, SA.

Peter Dunstan, Principal Kilkenny PS, SA, writes in SAPPA magazine, Primary Focus, that outdoor play fosters “wonderment, independence and freedom” as well as “social skills, imagination, creativity and problem solving”.

Inspired by SAPPA and NaturePlay, Mathspig has produced her own outdoorsy maths list:

The follicle diagram (above) came from bgoffforensics blog. More on hair growth rates here.

QUESTION 1:

How long to grow that really bad 70s style hair cut?

The length of Fabio’s hair (below) is approx 50cm.

t = 50/1.25 months

t=40 months

t = 3 Years 4 months!!!!

Is it worth the effort? Ha!

QUESTION 2:

The growth rates of 1.25 cm/month or 0.5 inches/month are rounded off. Calculations using these growth rates will produce different answers for very large numbers (as above). Read more about the above story in the Daily Mail, UK here. By the way, Asha has been growing her hair for 25 years. Her hair weighs 3 stone or 19 kg. You can find more hair records including the World’s longest ear hair here.

QUESTION 3:

Natasha lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Read more about Natasha in the Daily Mail here. Once again Mathspig has rounded off the length of hair for easy calculation. The Daily Mail puts Natasha’s ‘mane’ at 5 feet 2 inches or 157 cm. This is the length of hair to be cut off. So Mathspig adjusted the length to 180cm or the approx length of her longest hair.

The absolute delight of Spurious Correlationsis its craziness. Tyler Vigen is studying law at Harvard Law School, but he puts together the most ridiculous data you can imagine to show the correlation between eg. Per capita cheese consumption AND the number of people who died by getting tangled in their bed sheets, people who drowned after falling out of a fishing boat AND the marriage ration Kentucky. Of course, what Tyler is demonstrating is the basic maths principle, mathspiggies, that correlation is not causation. Here is one of his fabulous graphs:

Here is one graph from Spurious Correlati0ns (above) and the cover of Tyler’s New Book (below).

Math with Bad Drawings is run by Ben Orlin. He describes himself as ‘a math maths teacher in Birmingham, England. Before that, I taught in Oakland, California. I’ve taught (or am currently teaching!) every level of mathematics from ages 12 to 18.’

Not only is Ben’s humorous and fascinating take on maths interesting, his philosophy of life is worth a read too. e.g. We are all simultaneously experts and beginners, flaunting our talents while trying to cover our shortcomings the way an animal hides a wound.’

Here are two delightful examples of his maths with bad drawings:

Randall offers this warning to his KXCD blog: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors). Of course, this makes his blog even more interesting. Maths, profanity and silly humour. Bring it on.

How What if? blog asks and answers interesting questions:

What would happen if I dug straight down, at a speed of 1 foot per second? What would kill me first?

Could a bird deliver a standard 20″ New York-style cheese pizza in a box? And if so, what kind of bird would it take?

The joy of Yan’s One Minute Math blog is his eclectic collection of topics from . Kow-Cheong Yan is a Singapore-based teacher, math consultant, math blogger and maths book author (Grade 1- 6).

The Lighter Side of Innumeracy gives an insight into maths incompetence and superstition in Singapore. It shows that charlatans can still prey on the innumerate. And Yan’s critique of Drill-and-Kill texts promoted in Singapore is refreshing in an age where politicians are forever calling for Back-to-basics teaching methods for maths.

But my favourite post on Yan’s blog is;

Mathematical Fiction is not optional. The number of novels using maths as a theme is inspiring especially with Yan adding a comment like this:

If you’re looking for math, women, sex, and back-stabbing, The Wild Numbers (Philibert Schogt) is a math melodrama unlikely to disappoint.

Mathjokes4mathyfolks is run by my good math(s) friend Patrick Vennebush, who lives in Virginia with his wife, twin boys and his Golden Retriever Remy. He loves math(s), laughing and telling jokes. He also runs online projects for National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Patrick believes math(s) should be fun and his blog includes jokes, problems and real-life challenges. His collection of jokes is published in a book and cover the gamete from cool to Dad-style jokes. Here’s an example:

Angle of Opportunity looks at the angle a boy should pee in the toilet bowl without splatter fallout!!!!

Here is Math Fail on Facebook. And here is the Math Fail blog run by Self proclaimed Math Geek Mike, who explains that in addition to math fails, you will find a huge collection of geeky math jokes, interesting math facts, dumb math news, puzzles, speed math advice, math related comics, funny math pictures and more!! (It is not a Cheeseburger Fail blog.)

It is just a fun blog to explore. Here are some examples.

Who can be offended? They’re just numbers!!!!

Debbie O’Sullivan’s pinterest stream Math Puns/Jokes is worth a visit or two.

The Math Cartoons & Humor is pinterest run by Jiji the penguin. Actually, the penguin didn’t do it. Jiji the penguin is the mascot of STMath, a commercial education system that teaches math visually, and with minimum language, in the USA. Here are some examples of the humor:

Mashup Math is mind blowing from its math philosophy to its eclectic approach. Anthony Persico runs MashUp Math. He has taught in NY, VA, and CO and runs a YouTube channel. He believes in inclusive math education,that all students learn math differently and that the one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective. The worksheets, teacher resources supplied via mathmashup are FREE!

This is a screen shot of his roller coaster youtube clip on gradient or slope!!!

Here is his Mathsmashup You Tube channel (above), which is designed to help visual learners.

Here are some amazing sports stats (above) from the LA Times. Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant’s 30,699th and final field goal came from 19 feet with 31 seconds left against the Utah Jazz. This picture below shows every one of the 30,699 goals he scored. AMAAAAAAZING!

Math Antics Youtube Channel is run by, Rob and Jeremy, who are both funny and clear in their maths clips, which are directed mainly at Middle school. The youtube lessons are free, but Rob and Jeremy do charge teachers US$20 for a year of worksheets.