In a 2011 article in the New Yorker Burkhard Bilger wrote about neuroscientist David Eagleman and his research into time and the brain especially drummers’ brains.

Some of the drummers he has interviewed and/or tested include William Champion of Cold Play, Brian Eno of Roxy Music and Larry Mullen, Jnr of U2.

Eno, on keyboards (above) who was working on a U2 album, talks about Mullen’s amazing timing. They were using a click-track (computer generated beat) when mMullen complained he couldn’t drum to it. ENO adjusted the beat. Mullen was happy.

Here are some drum beats provided by Justin Alan Cox so you can get your timing right:

60 bpm

80 bpm

100 bpm

120 bpm

Drummer Maths:

How Cool a Drummer are you?

Pick a beat and see how accurate you can beat tempo. Time how long it takes you to beat out 60, 80, 100 or 120 drum beats using a pencil. It should, obviously, take one minute if you are an ENO or a Mullens.

What was the difference in time in seconds?

Calculate your % error = time error (sec)/(60 sec) x 100

Bilger’s conclusion:

‘Like perfect pitch, which dooms the possessor to hear every false note and flat car horn, perfect timing may just make a drummer more sensitive to the world’s arrhythmias and repeated patterns, Eagleman said—to the flicker of computer screens and fluorescent lights. Reality, stripped of an extra beat in which the brain orchestrates its signals, isn’t necessarily a livelier place. It’s just filled with badly dubbed television shows.’

The NHS reports that Australian Researchers Declan Patton and Andrew McIntosh, Uni of NSW, have conducted a study into brain and neck injuries of headbangers published in British Medical Journal.

Concerts included as part of the study included Motörhead, Mötley Crüe, Skid Row, The Hell City Glamours, L.A. Guns, Ozzy Osbourne, Winger, Ratt, Whitesnake and W.A.S.P.

Here’s Motorhead with a ‘nice’ moshpit.

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The Headbanger Study Concluded:

1. Head movement of more than 75^{o }for an average heavy metal beat will cause head and neck injuries. This movement causes headache and dizziness.

2. Beats above 130 bpm (beats per minute) cause neck injury.

The average headbanging song has a tempo of about 146 beats per minute (bpm).

and according to Mathspig:

3. Being punched up in the mosh pit. Do you need maths for that conclusion?

Researchers recommendations:

1. Reduce range of head and neck movement

2. Headbang to a slower tempo

3. Wear a neck brace. (Isn’t a bad hair cut enough?)

Headbanger Rates Exercise:

How many headbeats per hour would a headbanger manage for the following song tempos. Here are just a few tempos form Play Drums Now blog:

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Mathspigs excited .Look there is a band called Mutemath!!!!!!!! And here they are:

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Just to show that there is something spookily primitive about headbanging here is Headbanger Baby:

Can your math class make a musical maths video. Some of these are awesome. Firstly, if middle school math students see senior maths students having fun they will want to do it. This is called PR.

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And, secondly, it seems that the countries with the best global school maths results are also the countries doing maths musicals. Think about that!

Here is the band called AMERICA AFTER MATH. It is in the genre known as Math Rock (More to do with the beat):

Math Rock Challenge:

There are lots of rock groups with maths-linked names. So make up a Mathsy Group name like

Pythagoras and the sum of the squares

and go for it. Make a video. Make maths fun. Here are some inspiring you tube clips.

1

Maths Parody Rock Group: 2Ge+her (2GETHER) – U + Me = Us

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2

Maths Class the Musical Rocks

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3

Algebra Song (I’m YOurs) A parody of Aussie singer Jason Mraz from the TV show Packed to the Rafters

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4

Mathematics Rhapsody: D’Champion 2011 (BNCHS Math Jingle) Give this one a few seconds to get going then enjoy this Queen Parody.

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5

Mathematicous: Awesome Maths Parody of Fergie’s Fergalicious:

To have something in the challenge for every member of the class not just maths whiz kids.

Timing:

Week 1

Introduction: Form teams in class time. Give them the Scavenger Hunt Sheets so they can devise their team name and war cry/anthem.

eg. QTπ, The Smart Asymptotes,The Quadratics,The Nerd Herd,Numerators, Number Nutters and The Vulgar FactionGive teams 1 week to gather or create scavenger items.

You will find a complete PDF file of The Great Maths Scavenger Hunt @ the end of the following post, plus a PDF file answer guide.

Week 2:

Students are to bring items to class.

All teams must perform their war cry/anthem. Other performance items should be presented.

Score:

Any calculations must be written down. All graphs should be hand drawn.

Teams should then tally their own scores.

Cross check with another team.

Prize:

The prize will be a dodgy trophy (see pic) that you buy at a Op shop/ secondhand shop.

Rebrand it.

Decorate with hideous ribbons.

And make a fuss. This is Parody Power and everyone is in on the joke.

Students must complete 2 challenges @ 1¼ points each: Minimum of 2, Maximum of 5

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2. So You Think You can Add!:

* How many round-cut 8 carat diamonds will cover top of an A4 sheet?

* How many human hairs would cover the back of your (Werewolf) hand including your fingers assuming 200 hairs per square cm or 1,290 hairs per square inch.

* A set of scales in Stone. How heavy is a stone?

* Measure the length of your kiss in cm or inches. Show picture.

* Bring a slide rule. Show how to calculate 100 x 10.

* A pair of 40 denier tights. What is a denier?

* A t-shirt with π on the front

* How many golf balls would go around the equator? Diameter of golf ball= 43 mm

* Picture of a human Pentagon

* Arithmetic Progression of Stamps worth: 5c, 10c, 15c, 20c, 25 c and 30c.

* Picture of you calculating the angle of a pair of high heels using a cardboard triangle.

* Write the mirror image of every number from 1 – 20.

* Freeze three types of triangle into a cube of ice each.

* Bring in 3 size 24 buttons. What is the diameter of a size 24 button?

* Car batteries are labelled 12V but are more likely 12.6 volts. Plot a graph of % charge remaining Vs Voltage (V). You’ll find info here.

* If you buy an $120,000 Boxter Porsche and it depreciates in value by 25% annually, how much will it be worth when it is 1, 2, 3 and 4 years old? More info here.

* In 2012 Usain Bolt had earned $20 million up until the Olympic Games mostly through endorsements. He ran a total of 400m (100 m, 200m and 4x100m relay). How much does the fastest man on earth earn per m and, more interestingly, per second? Why is the relay faster per leg than the 100m sprint?

* An old maths exam paper of a parent or grand parent or a school ruler with their name on it. (Must be old)

* How many large cracked eggs would it take to fill a 50-litre rubbish bin?

* What does 24 carat gold mean? Write 24, 18 and 12 carat gold in fractions.

* If Usain Bolt could keep up his 100m-sprint speed, how long would it take for him to finish the marathon? How long would it take him to get to school from your place? Include map showing your route to school.

* Draw a skateboard deck width Vs skater height graph. Info here.

Students must complete 2 challenges @ 2 ½ points each: Minimum of 2 challenges, Maximum of 4 challenges.

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3.The Great Maths Race

* Make a protractor Anemometer and calculate the current wind speed. Conversion Chart here.

* Bring a sextant

* The Brix number is used to measure sweetness. One degree Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution. What would the Brix number be for orange juice, Gatorade and coke? You will need to know the sugar content in gm for each drink ( Look here) and the volume of a coke can or bottle.

* Make a poster using maths symbols going off at a tangent.

* Your growth chart for 10-year period.

* Width of the front of the school block in toilet paper sheets. You will find some handy measurements here.

* Bake a π pie

* Cook a Fibonacci cake

* Bring in a mock up poster (in waste paper) of all paper sizes from A8 to A0.

* How much do we spend per person each year on toilet paper? You will find information @ toilet paper fun facts. Yes! There is a Toilet Paper Fun Facts website. We use an average of 57 sheets each per year and, say, a toilet roll has 350 sheets. You will have to price the toilet rolls.

* Prove 1 + 1 = 2 in the most complicated way you can.

* Demonstrate Pythagoras Theorem using Saltine crackers.

* Develop a maths clap chant. Team must teach clap chant to class.

* Make potato stamps of the surds: √2, √3 and √5 and stamp an equation.

* Use bubble gum to demonstrate the parabola to the class of y = x^{2}

* Make an Origami Pentagon from a square

* Make a (with clothes on) photo of yourself as Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.

* Make Pascal’s Triangle using jellybeans or rice grains

* If your hair kept growing at the average rate of 0.04 cm per day, how long would it take to reach the same length/height as you? Show calculations.

* Make a poster of Bernoulli’s Triangle 20 lines long.

* The fastest remote controlled car on earth, so they say, is the Traxxas XO-1, which goes from 0-62mph ( 0 – 99 kph) in just 2.3 seconds and can hit 100mph (160 kph) in less than five seconds. How long would it take for the remote controlled car to travel to your nearest Macdonald’s and return with fries at 62 mph and 100mph? Print out a map.

* Research the height and weight of 10 famous ballerinas and plot these statistics on a height Vs weight chart. Is there a mathematical pattern?

* If a kangaroo can hop at 25 kph (15.5 mph), how long would it take to hop across the middle of Australia E to W?

Students must complete 2 challenges @ 4⅓points each. No additional challenges allowed.

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4. The X Squared Factor

* Make an origami soccer ball

* Video of a pile of Lego sorting into a Venn Diag of shape, colour and bumps

* Fill a matchbox full of rice. How many grains? How many grains of rice to fill an Olympic swimming pool?

* Learn π to 20 places then annoy everyone. No. Just demonstrate this skill.

* Devise a way to simply measure the volume of a set of keys. (Go Archimedes Go)

* Toast the area of a piece of toast into the toast.

* Draw a simple picture of mathematician on graph paper. Write the co-ordinates of major points [eg. (2,5), (5, 7) etc] in order so that someone else can redraw the picture without seeing it. Test it.

* How many corn flakes are there in a 750gm box?

* Trap yourself inside a Matrix. Full points for most creative effort.

* Give a 3-minute humorous talk on why fractions are vulgar.

* Devise a method to calculate the speed of ants around your house or the school. Now calculate the time it would take for an ant to finish the 100m Olympic sprint.

* Demonstrate n! from n = 1 to n = 10 in Lego blocks

* Bring in an Abacus and demonstrate how you multiply 96 x 72.

* Find the minimum aeroplane seat width @ Seatguru for British Air, Qantas and American airlines. Now calculate how many seats these airlines could fit across your couch @ home.

*Rewrite the 12 Days of Christmas Carol with maths terms. Sing in woollie hat and scarf to class.

* Sing the 7 times table to the class Opera Style.

* There are 1,070 dimples on a golf ball. The diameter of a golf ball is 4.3 cm. How many dimples per square cm? The diameter of a tennis ball is 6.9 cm, how many dimples would fit on a tennis ball?

* How many slices of bread to cover your country? How many loaves? You will find size and links here. A pre-sliced loaf of supermarket bread is approx 10 cm by 11 cm.

* A large tube of toothpaste is 4.2 oz or 119 gm. What length of toothpaste squeezed in a straight line could you squeeze out of that tube?

* How much air is in an Aero? This can be calculated. By weight and by volume.

* How many 100s & 1000s or sprinkles or jimmies are there on average on top of a cup cake? Make an equation (That’s algebra, folks) using symbols made of sprinkles on cupcakes. Bring to class. They will be eaten.

* Rewrite Some of My Favourite Things from the sound of music using only maths terms. You can make clothes out of curtains or use old clothes and felt markers and whatever grabs your imagination to make a maths tie/skirt/shirt/hat to sing the song to the class.

* What is the probability that a peanut butter sandwich will land peanut butter if you get a fright and throw it in the air? Show trial numbers.

* How many channels can you surf in a 20 second period? If you had to get up off the couch, walk to the TV set, push a button and return to the couch, how long would it take to surf that many channels? Yeah! Like in the olden days.

* Make a complex tessellation using Cuisenaire rods or potato stamps you have carved. (Diagram below is not a tessellation but nice potato stamp art.)