Archive for the ‘Arithmetic’ Category

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Post- COVID … We need Middle School Maths that is, like, WOW!

June 9, 2020

10 Quick & Quirky Ways to Make the Maths Classroom Rock!

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1. Tell a Story: Life, Death, and Geometry

This is middle school maths at its best. To understand Wild Fires you must understand the angle of a slope. REQUIREMENTS: Just this story and a white or blackboard to show how the fire speed changes with the slope angle. 

Background Story

On 5th August 1949 Wag Dodge was dropped by parachute with 14 other firefighters into Mann Gulch, a steep-sided gully in a Montana pine forest. Firefighters who parachute in to put out small blazes started by lightning 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.

What you have to know

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

Each 10º increase in slope, the fire front speed doubles. So a fire front traveling at 60 kph (37 mph) becomes a fire front traveling at 120kph (75 mph) moving up a slope of 10º.

What happened to the Smoke Jumpers?

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 outrun the fire at that point. So he stopped, took off his backpack, 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. You will find maths exercises here: METRIC UNITS and USA UNITS.

 

Requirements: SmartBoard to Project this link.

Try it first. You might be surprised.

 

3. Urban Myth Busted

Requirements: This story.

Goldfish Memory This is what Epidemiologists do. They find out if there are statistics to support the theory. These mathematicians have been providing vital information during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

According to the ABC news, this myth was busted by a 15-year-old Adelaide schoolboy named Rory Stokes. He fed his goldfish near a Red Lego brick. The fish started anticipating food near the brick. He took it away and replaced it several weeks later. The fish remembered the red brick!!! More here.

Other maths myths to check out:

Chewing food 32 times before swallowing helps you lose weight. Here.

You must drink 8 glasses of water a day. Here.

You are 6 degrees of separation from anyone in the world. Here.

It takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile. Here.

 

4. Beat this! Drum Rates in BPM.

Requirements: A pencil and a timer on a phone.

Can students manage a drumbeat to popular songs? Here are some songs with their BPMs (Beats per minute listed). 

Tones and I     Dance Monkey  98 BPM.

The Rubens  Live In Life  104 BPM.

Lady Gaga      Bad Romance     118  BPM

……………….Just Dance          119   BPM

Flume   Rushing Back   176  BPM   (Try the middle of the track. It varies)

Panic! At the Disco      186 BPM   (Recommended by Jog.FM for jogging)

More DRUM BEATS and a story about Drummers’ Brains here.

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5...MatHoudini

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Requirements: Phonebook.

Read the instructions at this link. Very simple. And you can amaze the students. Or Vice Versa. A student can amaze a maths teacher.

 

6.  Can you make a Square Bubble?

Requirements: pipe cleaners or stick cube and detergent and a bucket with water.

All ages love this exercise.

How? Read the link here.

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7. Photo Scavenger Hunt

Challenge: Students use a smartphone to take 5 mathsy photos for homework. Ideas here.

However, start in the maths room. Look for parallel lines, angles, rectangles, spheres, parabolas (not in the textbooks). See parabola below.

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8. Barcode Maths

Requirements: A product with a barcode.

Read this link and check the barcode.

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9. Secret Code

Requirements: Box of matches, an accomplice.

Read this link and amaze the class.

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10. Rolling coin Paradox & the Radius 

Requirements: 2 large coins. 20c in Australia, Half-$ USA or 25p UK.

Read this link first. It’s so counterintuitive.

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Australian Open 2020: Could YOU ….. return Roger Federer’s serve?

January 27, 2020

The Australian Tennis Open is being played at the moment and Mathspig is always amazed at the serve speed of the top-seeded players.

Here are some of the serves speeds of players in this year’s Men’s Open. 

Keep in mind the fastest female tennis serve by Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová is a very respectable 225 km/h (140 mph).

Can you return Roger Federer’s serve?

NOTE: Andy Murray had the same serve speed as Roger Federer.

Go here to see why this simplified calculation works! 

Mathspig tested her reaction time here. TRY IT!

Mathspig’s best, best, best reaction time = O.33 sec

Could Mathspig return Roger Federer’s serve?

Nooooo!…………………………………………………………………….

I’d be hit in the head by a speeding tennis ball

before I even moved.

But I’m a pig. I’ve got the best service GRUNT! Ha!

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Why do so many students HATE MATH? … um, you know, BOREDOM

September 28, 2019

According to ‘Bored Out of Their Minds’, an article by ZACHARY JASON in The Harvard Ed Magazine (2017):

Boredom accounts for nearly a third of the variation in student achievement. 

Half of high school dropouts cite boredom as their primary motivator for leaving.

Boredom begins for Math students at Grade 6 when students (Common Core Standards, USA) tackle more abstract concepts such as linear eqns, exponents, probability, geometry and so on.

Math curriculums in the USA, UK & Australia all demand students solve REAL LIFE problems. Too often these are of the type:

Q. Ronaldo has tethered his goat on a 12ft rein in the corner of a 20ft square field. What area can the goat graze?

THE ANS: Who cares?

Simple.

Ask students maths questions which have answers they want to know.

Students really don’t care about Ronaldo’s goat, but here are some questions which involve intriguing answers they might want to work out. And many of these questions involve funny or age-relevant activities, which also helps engagement.

1. Mean, Median STATS: Mean, Median and Coffee: Busting an Urban Myth

2. Parabolas: Can you beat the 12-14 yo World Record for a Watermelon Pip spit?

3. Geometry: Build a Freestanding Tower

Rates (Speed) & Units:

4a. The Terrifying Math of Running from a bear

USA Units

METRIC UNITS

4b. How old is your hair?

5. Decimals, %, Volume: What Volume of alcohol is lethal for teens?

6. Decimals, Algebra, Weight Units

How much blood can a kid lose and survive?

USA UNITS

Metric Units

Graph Hunger Game Math

7. GEOMETRY. Angles

Why killer heels can kill!

Any Topic:

8. Middle School Math Photo Scavenger Hunt

9. Write Your Own Math Song

Space Math Song here

10. Make a Math Poster

EVEN TEACHERS GET BORED!!!

The average time it takes an audience at a conference to switch off is 11 minutes. Keep in mind this audience is, at least, being paid to be bored witless.

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Outdoor Math Adventures: Grade 3 – 5

September 12, 2019

It’s Autumn in UK & FALL in the USA so it’s the perfect time for a little bit of outdoor math for Grade 3-5 with AUTUMN leaves. Of course, you don’t need FALL LEAVES for this exercise, but it is colorful.
Outdoor Maths 1 Mathspig 2

This fab idea comes from Juliet Robertson, an outdoor education consultant in Scotland. Her blog Creative star learning is one of the most inspiring outdoor maths blogs you will find.

Outdoor Maths 2 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 3 mathspig

Outdoor Maths 4 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 5 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 6 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 7 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 8 Mathspig

Check out Mathpig’s protractor joke here.

Outdoor Maths 9 Mathspig

Outdoor Maths 10 Mathspig

Another fab idea from Juliet Robertson.

 

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MATH JOKE 9: Seriously Funny

January 18, 2019

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1. You can duck a bullet

January 15, 2019

You will find all the ballistics stats you need here:

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Trick 1: The Great MATHoudini

September 18, 2018

The Great MATHoudini

Requirements: 1 phone book, Great showmanship

Start by handing one member of the class a sealed envelope. It contains a name that you have seen in your mathematical mind.

All will be revealed at the end of the performance.

Ask one student to write a 3-digit number on the board.

Ask a second student to turn this number around and subtract the smallest number from the largest number.

Ask a third student to turn that number around and add the last two numbers.

Example: N1 = 371.

N2 = 173

N1 – N2 = N3 = 371 – 173 = 198

N4 = 891

N4 – N3 = 891 + 198 = 1089

Give a fourth student a phone book. Ask them to go to page 108 and count down 9 places on the first column and read out the name.

Now open the envelope.

Da! Da!

 

How does it work? The numbers ALWAYS add up to 1089 so you had plenty of time to check out the name in the phone book.

Source: Magic/Menatalism Tips and Tricks

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Trick 2: The Math Teacher Knows

August 4, 2018

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The Math Teacher Knows Everything

Requirements: 1 die, a fanfare would be nice.

You will find a fanfare here.

Ask a student to roll the die, double the number and add 5.  He can show the class the number, but not you.

Ask the student to multiply this number by 5.

Ask the student to roll the die again and add this number to the total.

Now you can tell them the numbers they rolled.

Example:

N1 = 3

Double: 2N1 = 6

Add 5: 2N1 + 5 = 11

x5:   5(2N1 + 5) = 55

Roll dice:

N2 = 4

Add 4:

55 + 4 = 59

The Math Teacher Knows:

Secretly subtracts 25 from this number:

59 – 25 = 34

Da! Da! There are the two numbers rolled.

Source: Magic/Menatalism Tips and Tricks

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Awesome Lego Maths and a Giant Lego Tree

July 28, 2018

You may not want Lego brick blossoms falling on your head,

but the Giant Lego Cherry Blossom tree has some awesome maths

to explore. See the tree built in fast forward below.

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Trick 3: Maths Swami Knows Your Age and Foot Size

July 9, 2018

Maths Swami 1: A Magic No.

Maths Swami 2: I Know Your Birthday

Requirements: Calculator and spooky demeanor

Imagine your birthday was 24 September 1973.

Written as an American date (not UK or Australia) this would be:

9-24-73.

Give the calculator to a student:

Take birthday month and add 18:

9 + 18 = 27

x 25

27 x 25 = 675

– 333

675 – 333 = 342

x 8

342 x 8 = 2736

– 554

2736 – 554 = 2182

Divide by 2

2182/2 = 1091

Add day of birthday date

1091 + 24 = 1115

x5

1115 x 5 = 5575

+ 692

5575 + 692 = 6267

x 20

6267 x 20 = 125340

Add the last two digits only of your birth year

125340 + 73 = 125413

– 32940

125413 – 32940 = 92473 = 9-24-73

Yes! Yes!

Hint: It probably would be easier to ask them for their birthday. Ha! But Maths Swami’s are mysterious beings.

You will find a video link on Youtube