Archive for the ‘Hyperbolas’ Category


5. It’s Too Hard

September 29, 2017

The Complaint:  

It’s too hard!………………


The Cause:

This response often results when students face some new topic – often beyond numbers – that students can’t handle on auto pilot. Instead of working through the problem, they crash and burn.


The Solution: 

I’m going to tell you a story. Bear with me for a minute. You did maths from Grade 1 to 6. You’re cool. No major dramas. Then something happens. A new topic, perhaps. Or a new teacher and a new topic. You don’t get it. You sit there looking confused. And then you do this. You say ‘I can’t do maths’( See post here) or ‘It’s too hard’.

In my maths teacher days terror topics were:

Long division


Dividing Fractions

Geometry (because so few students listen to what the teacher is saying.)

Trigonometry (Lot of, you know, things to learn. Equations and stuff.)

So you stop doing maths. You retire at the age of, maybe, 13 years.

If you hit the MATHS WALL, here’s what you have to do. Back up a bit. Do some warm up maths on the topic. It’s out there.

eg. The Kahn Academy. I’m not saying it is easy. (See THE MATHS SPEECH here) I’m telling you it is doable. Practise.

Maths is always TOO HARD when you give up. But when you try amazing things can happen.

Besides, if a raccoon can do it.

Here is an exercise that you didn’t think you could do. But it is entirley doable by Middle School students with patience.

Karate Maths of OUCH! That hurts!


3 Ellipsoid Collipsoid

April 9, 2013

Maths-is-Awesome Activity

Ellipsoid Collipsoid

Skill: Geometry, scale, ratio, conic sections, ellipses, parabolas, hyperbolas and more.

Level: Senior School

102 Conic section 1901

Senior maths students are busy, mathspiggies. But insipration energises.

Mathspig was amaaaaaazed by these cardboard models were made by Martin Schilling because he made them in 1901. This was long before computers made the job easier. More info here.This is what a car looked like in 1901.

car 1901

If Martin Schilling could make these Conic Sections, so can any senior student. You will find Conic Section diagrams and equations here.

Could you do this mathspiggies?

Make a conic section in 3D?


12 minute Maths Guru

July 4, 2011

Meet Salman Khan. He has put free maths on-line.

This article on Salman appeared in The Sunday Times, UK, 12 JUN 2011.

Salman, 28, started putting tutes online for his 12-year-old niece, Nadia, and things grew. So far the Kahn Academy’s claim to fame are:

* Over 2,400 videos including hundreds and hundreds of 12-minute maths tutes

* Over 63,000,000 lessons delivered.

* Bill Gates kids use the site.

* A staff of 1 with funding from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

* Tutes on Biology, Chemistry and Physics too.

You can look up the maths tutes by topic @ The Khan Academy.

Or search topics on Youtube eg. Introduction to Conics Khan

Why Does Mathspig like The Kahn Academy? Because it’s:

1. Free.

2. Quick

3. Clear

4. Low-key







Salman gives digital chalk-and-talk tutes like a teacher. He hand draws the equations and graphs. He uses a calculator from time to time, but he tends not to use whizz bang spreadsheet graphs or perfectly presented textbook equations. It’s a bit wobbly and it’s all coming from Salman’s head.

And students like this approach. It makes maths look do-able.

Go, Salman.

Mathspig thinks you are just GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!

 Australia’s Year 7 – 12 Maths Curriculum is already on-line and free, funded by McDonald’s. See What are maths teachers for, sir?

The tutes on Maths Online are produced by Aussie Maths teachers and they are very good. Mathspig, of course, imagined the quadratic function tutes might look something like this: