Archive for the ‘Arithmetic’ Category


One Second

June 27, 2016

1 Second Logo

1 Second Logo 2a

1 second 1 Mathspig1 Seccond 2 Mathspig1 Second 3 Mathspig

1 Second 4 Mathspg

1 Second 5 Mathspig1 Second 6 Mathspig1 Second 7 Mathspig1 Second 8 Mathspig


A Maths Fairy Tale for Grade 2

May 12, 2016

A Maths FAiry Tale Mathspig

Once upon a time, Grade 2 students did very boring work in maths. And they had to do lots of tests too.


Sometimes evil witches wrote the test questions. These Year 2 (Grade 2) questions were very, very scary. Here is one of those very scary questions. It was so scary lots of people turned into angry birds when they saw this question. The angry birds tweeted that this question is ” too hard’. Tweet! Tweet! (The Telegraph , UK, 9 May, 2016)

A very wise old Mathspig worked out the answer.

X -19 +17 = 63

                X = 65

Mmmmm, this is a scary question for Grade 2. 

Many Grade 2 teachers are Wonderful Maths Wizards. They make maths magical and fun everyday. Students must sharpen their pencils and put on their wizards thinking hats to practise their maths. But maths can be magical and fun too. So here is:


by Mathspig

A Wonderful Maths Wizard teacher can read the story out loud and the little Grade 2 Maths Wizards can write down their answers.


Tooth Fairy Math Mathspig 1

Tooth Fairy Mathspig 2a

Printable Version below.

A Maths Fairy Tale 1

A Maths Fairy Tale 2

A Maths Fairy Tale 3


How Oops! Try again Maths is killing us …………………………………………………………………………… MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig ….…. with Kerry Cue

September 8, 2015

The New Age of Guess-amatics!

Mathspig pill bottle Hellooooo Sweeties,………………………………………………………………………

Some frightening maths this week. When researching DANGEROUS MATHS, Mathspig found one branch of maths is the most dangerous maths of all. Let’s call it GUESS-AMATICS. Today, maths is often taught via computer program packages. Some of these computer packages turn maths into a guessing game.

1 plus 1

This exact and rather frightening scenario was described to me by the mother of a 5 year old. The mother decided it was time to turn the game off. When students play mathematical computer games too often they don’t have to think, they just guess the answer and try again. But be warned this ‘Oops! Try again’ maths can kill you’! Some maths you cannot ‘try again’. You HAVE to get it right the first time. Medication is one area where ‘Oops! Try again maths kills”

Do the Maths and Do NO HARM.

You need sufficient maths to understand medication doses or you might do yourself harm.…………………………………………………………………………………..

And here is just one very frightening statistic:……………………………………..

According to FDA data 1.3 million people in the USA are injured each year from medication errors. Mathspig First Aid Saves

Meanwhile, we need nurses, caregivers, doctors, paramedics, First Aide volunteers, parents, grandparents, babysitters, teachers and all health care professionals to have sufficient maths to be able to calculate simple medication doses. Or we need them to simply READ the dose and make sure it is correct. Unfortunately, many of those who should be able to work out medication doses are either incapable or not paying attention. And your life could be in their hands:


In the UK 1 in 20 hospital deaths is due to medical error. Nearly 12,000 patients die needlessly in hospital every year due to blunders by staff, researchers warn. Drugs or fluid mismanagement  was identified as a problem in 21% of preventable deaths (NHS   2012) or, doing the maths, 21% of 12,000 is approx 2,500 deaths due to bad maths! Mathspig Do meds do maths


According to a new study just out from the prestigious Journal of Patient Safety, four times as many people die from preventable medical errors than we thought, as many as 440,000 a year. Mathspig Do meds do maths


Reports show between 9,000 and 24,000 hospital deaths due to medical error. Mathspig Do meds do maths


Official Australian government reports reveal that preventable medical error in hospitals is responsible for 11% of all deaths in Australia or 1 in 9 deaths.


Other DANGEROUS MATHS include:

Dangerous Maths 1:Young drunk dead

Dangerous Maths 2: Death by Snake, Spider, Quad bike, Kangaroo, Raccoon and Vomit

Dangerous Maths 3: Shark Attack

Take care and do the maths……………………………………………………

Hoo Roo………………………………………………………………………………



Dangerous Maths 2: Death by Snake, Spider, Quad bike, Kangaroo, Raccoon and Vomit

August 7, 2015

This post is really a PR exercise for sharks. We fear them. We’re horrified by the thought of being eaten alive!!!. We only have to hear the sound track from JAWS to feel the fear.

Why do we fear sharks? Look at the numbers. REALLY. Show your students. What about stairs??? Quad bikes? Chairs? Bees? That’s when you should feel the fear!!! We are irrational beings. This is why we need maths. We can make rational decisions using maths. There is also a safety message here. The maths speaks for itself. We won’t hammer it.


There is lots of maths you can do with these tables.

  • Bar Graphs
  • Pie Charts
  • Ratios (What’s the ratio of death by Snake to Quad Bike?)
  • Fractions (Show death by jet ski to falling down stairs as a fraction)
  • Percentages
  • Powers to the base 10. How many deaths occur in each country per 100,000 or 1 x 10head of population for, say, Quad bikes or ATVs? We can use these numbers to compare death rates and find out how dangerous riding a Quad bike is in each country.

……..Population Data

……..Aust…23 million = 23 x 106

……..USA…319 million = 319 x 106

……..Canada…35 million = 35 x 106

……..UK…64 million = 64 x 106

But we’re doing this for the SHARKS!!! Death Australia Mathspig

  1. Cyclists. 2. emergency lanes 3. fell off a chair 4.QUAD BIKES. 5. Horse, donkey. 6. buses 7. Cow, bull. 8. ice skates, skis or skateboards. 9. Venemous snake 10. kangaroo 11. bee 12. emu 13. Jet ski 14. Shark 15. Crocodile

Death USA Mathspig 21. Quad Bike or ATV: In 2007, 107 children younger than 16 were killed on ATVs. 2. Cyclists 3. choke on vomit  4. Cats, cows, horses, pigs, raccoons. 5. Bees, wasps  6.PWC or Jet Ski 7. Lightning 8. Xmas tree fires 9. Snowboard 10. Venomous Spider  11. Scorpions 12. Venomous Snakes , lizards. 13.Crocs & gators  14. Shark Death Canada Mathspig

  1. ATV Quad Bike 2. Canoe  3. Kayak 4. PWC or Jet Ski  5. Unpowered inflatable 6. Avalanches or landslides. 7. Lightning 8. Toboggan 9. Moose –Car collision 10. Bears (All Nth America) 11. Rattle Snake 12. Wolves 13. Shark

Death UK Mathspig

  1. falling down stairs.  2. Cyclists.  3. Choke on vomit   4. Falling off Chairs 5.  QUAD BIKE or ATV 6. Buses 7. Struck by cow, horse, other mammal 8. hornets, wasps, bees. 9. PWC or jet ski .10. Parachutists. 11. Skateboards, ice skates, skis 12. Canoe. 13. Shark 

MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig …………………………………………………. with Kerry Cue

July 10, 2015

Mathspig m&m maths intro

Hellooooo My Little Sweeties,

There is so much maths you can do with m&ms, it’s hard to believe there is any other sort of maths.

You can study:

Countingtimes tables, set theory, Bar graphs, Fractions, % and decimalsMean, median, modeand parabolas (using a really cool peg-powered catapult).

But my favouritest ,developed by Patrick Len, is using m&ms to demonstrate half life in radioactive substances and therefore write an exponential equation.


m&ms  table

Throw a fixed no. m&ms on a table. Mathspig chose 128 m&ms for a very good reason. Eat the ones with the m showing. Count remainder. Throw again. Eat the ones with the m showing. Count remained. Keep doing this. You will end up with results like the following. (Not identical as chance is involved)

mathspig   m&m maths exponential fn  2

Wow! m&m’s and exponential equations. How yummy is that!!!!!!

More yummy maths:

m+m maths 1: find the volume using m+ms!

m+m maths 2: Guess, NO, calculate the number of m+ms in a jar!

m+m maths 3: how many m+ms will kill you?

m+m maths 4: How many m+ms will kill my dog?

m+m maths 5: how many m+ms will kill my cat?

m+m maths 6: How many m+ms will kill my pet rat?

m+ms maths 7: how many m+ms will kill my pet mouse?

Mmmmmmm! Can’t talk. Face full of chocolate.

Bye bye



Hair Maths 1: The curly problem with curly hair

May 6, 2015

pic 0 mathspig hair maths 2


pic 1 Mathspig the curly Q

More about Troy’s $million hair here. Hair statistics including how many hairs a human has on their head here.

Mathspig studied hair chemistry at uni. Tricky stuff. Put simply, hair is made of long strands of protein called keratin held together by sulphur (and some hydrogen) bonds. To curl hair, the keratin strands in the outer curve of each hair has to be stretched with curling tongs or hair curlers, heated and dried. The bonds in each hair reform with one side longer than the other … Hence, the hair curls like gift-wrap ribbon. But high humidity allows hair to reabsorb water and straightened hair just goes psycho curly again!

pic 2 mathspig Hair PermThis excellent hair diagram comes from The Chemistry of Shampoo and Conditioner, in an article by EMMA Dux for the Royal Australian Chemical Institute

Some people are born with hair follicles that produce keratin at different rates across the follicle. They have curly hair. Hair perms chemically break and reform the sulphur bonds while the hair is held in small curlers (curly hair) or a very big curlers(relatively straight hair.) thus permanently curling the hair.

Here’s the Maths:

Curly hair looks like a 3D Helix.

pic 3 Helix Graph and Equation MathspigMore on 3D helix maths here

But, in fact, one strand of curled hair looks more like a spiral staircase.

The outer edge of the staircase is longer than the inner edge.

pic 5 HELIX spiral staircase

 pic 6 formula for curly hair

 More helix maths here.


Mathspig doesn’t expect Middle School students to plot a 3D Helix. But if they have started TRIGONOMETRY then they can see that the maths they are studying is used in CGIs for films and computer games in this case to generate realistic curly hair!!!! That’s cool. This maths was needed to model Merida’s curly hair in  BRAVE.

pic 7 Merida's Curly hair


Some middle school students could calculate some points on the helix.

Now students must be introduced to radians.

Simple EXPLANATION: Angles eg. 300 are not useful in calculations but fractions are very useful.

Eg. The circumference of a circle:

C = 2πr

Now imagine if you scan with a floodlight set at a radius of 1 km. So:

C = 2π

So the circumference is 2π.

You scan ¼ of a circle, the distance the light moves is ¼(2π)

or ½ π or 1.57 km (see below)

This measurement of an angle is in RADIANS.

00     = 0 circle = 0

450   = 1/8 circle = 2π/ 8 = 2 (3.14) /8 = 0. 79

900   = 1/4 circle = ½ π = ½ (3.14) = 1.57

1350   = 3/8 circle = ¾ π = ¾ (3.14) = 2.36

1800= 1/2 circle = π = 3.14

2250   = 5/8 circle = 5/4 π = 5/4(3.14) = 3.93

2700 = 3/4 circle = 3/2 π = 4.71

3150   = 7/8 circle = 7/4 π = 7/4 (3.14) = 5.50

3600 = 1 circle = 2π = 6.28


You will find Cos  tables at NASA Sine tables at Mathhelp

 Mathspig 3D helix table

Answer here: Answers- 3D Helix Table

 Advanced students may want to look at what the Uber Geek 3D Helix generating program at the free graph website PLOTLY here.


Maths Mystery Box 1: Not Stupid

April 10, 2015

Maths Mystery BOX 1

Not stupid. Just, like, lazy.

Mathspig averages quote

I use the quote above to explain to people that Averages don’t mean much. This is a typical response. Really! Wow! Australians have one breast and one testicle!

We live in a culture of Selective Stupidity. Most people can do the basic maths of: + – x % $$$$, but many don’t bother. We leave maths thinking to machines and their algorithms.


So you buy 4 choc bars at 50 cents each and, for fun, ask the shop assistant ‘how much?’ They work the answer out on the cash register. They have to record the purchase. Still, how hard would it be to say $2? We don’t even try.

Yet we need maths every day to buy stuff, read timetables, pay bills, cook, understand food labels, take medication and more. Maths is used in sport, driving, gaming, gambling, drinking (ie. alcohol levels) and banking; maths is used in the workplace, the law, politics, advertising, fitness, the travel industry, gardening, the music industry (Royalty payments are a big issue now), watching TV (Download speeds are crucial), Facebook (How many likes?) and more.

The UK maths-promoting charity National Numeracy quotes from research suggesting ‘weak maths skills are linked with an array of poor life outcomes such as prison, unemployment, exclusion from school, poverty and long-term illness’. (Judith Burns, Poor numeracy ‘blights the economy and ruins lives‘, BBC News, 5 March 2012)

Yeah! And ….

Mathspig hot date quote

Josie Gurney-Read in an article Damaging maths mindset holding pupils back,( The Telegraph, UK, 30 Oct 2014) claimed 17 million adults in the UK have poor maths skills and this is costing the economy £20 billion a year.

£20 billion,eh?

The previous article by Judith Burns, above, quoted research by KPMG auditors that put the annual costs of poor numeracy skills in the UK at £2.4bn.

So £2.4 billion, is it?

Who’s doing the Maths HERE?

Who cares? We let these numbers just fly past without thinking about them. We choose to suffer from Selective Stupidity.

To challenge middle school students to think about the numbers they read here are a few tricky questions:

the maths quiz

Look at the following questions and see if you can work out why the maths is totally dodgy.

1. Dumb and Dumber

doll solar

Solar Plus claimed, after a survey of 60 customers, that 99.98% of customers would recommend their product.

What’s wrong with their Maths?

Answer here.

2. Wanna get rich? Look at the Graph, Dude!

Financial advisers around the world wheeled out graphs like the one below to show that investing in the stock market is very secure and that down turns in the market in 2007 were minor. Oh Yeah!

What is wrong with this graph!

Mathspig Maths Mystery Box 1 graph

Answer here.

3. Run a Red Light. 0.9 sec! $234 fine! Is that fair?


Look at the maths. How far would a Mazda 3 travelling at 60 kph (37.3 mph) travel in 0.9 seconds? 

Ans here.

4. Can you out run a fireball?

This is a Movie Cliché we see over and over. But is it possible?

Maths Mystery Box 1  outrun fireball

A Fireball travels at 400 m/sec. That’s metres/sec. Now can you do the maths?

Answer here.

5. You could win the lottery! The least drawn numbers are ….


If the least drawn numbers are 41, 32, 10, 43, 35 and 20 will picking these numbers improve your chances of winning the lottery?

Answer here.

6. The Equation for the Funniest Joke is:

According to The Telegraph UK the formula for the funniest joke is:

x = (fl + no ) / p


x = funniness of joke

f = funniness of punchline

l = the length of the build-up

n = the amount some falls over

o = the “Ouch” factor of physical pain or social embarrassment

p = power of the punchline

So, what’s wrong with this equation? Ask Weird Al Yankovic.

MAD Magazine Weird Al Marker Tooth_54dce7ae29a8f0.26429747

Ans here.

(Quick Ans: It’s all rubbish. Guess work x cow manure = bulldust. You cannot measure any of these variables. What’s the unit for measuring funniness?)

7. Coconuts kill 150 people a year. Does that sound right?


OK. You are not a crazy death-by-coconut research scientists. But have a guess. Are coconuts that dangerous?

Answer here.

8. 9 out of 10 serial killers prefer murdering kids with Emo hair.


Does this sound reasonable?

Answer here.

Quick Answer: There’s a lot of joke maths out there but some folk take it seriously.