Archive for the ‘Parabolas’ Category


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



Outdoor Maths Adventures: Middle School

June 30, 2014



Outdoor maths middle school 1 mathspig

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!


Outdoor Maths Middle School 2 Mathspig

McGill Uni link here.

Outdoor Maths MIddle School 3 Mathspig

Don’t forget to throw in Mathspig’s lame protractor jokes.

Outdoor Maths Middle School 4 mathspig

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

Outdoor Maths Middle School 5 Mathspig

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

Outdoor Maths Middle school 6 Mathspig

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.


2. One Rule Aerial Skiers Cannot Break

January 23, 2014

Aerial skiers aim for height rather than length. Their aerial flight times are much smaller than ski jumpers so air resistance has minimal impact.

In fact, there is one law the aerial skiers cannot break. It is the law of gravity.

Here is an equation for  projectile motion from Wired magazine.

Screen grab from Wired Magazine

Screen grab from Wired Magazine

Here is the x-y graph for different launch angles.

trajectory wired magazine

trajectory wired magazine

You can go to this page for complete calculations. Aerial skiers twist and turn but their CENTRE OF GRAVITY must follow this graph. MOre on centre of Gravity at The Great Back Pack Attack ie.

The centre of gravity of Aerial Skiers must follow a

parabolic curve.

Aerial Parabola final 1


Aerial Parabola final 2


Rocky Maloney Winter X Games Aspen

Rocky Maloney Winter X Games Aspen


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?


8 What the World Needs Now is More Parabolas

April 9, 2013

Maths-is-Awesome Activity

What the World Needs Now is More Parabolas

simpson's parabola

Skills: Graph, scale, measurement …. balancing that last cardboard section.

Level: Middle & Senior School

If you cannot make it to MOMaths Maths Museum in NY for a Mad Maths Monday, then you can run a Mad Maths Monday in your own class.

Build your own giant parabola out of cardboard.

We’re being awesome

We’re thinking big.

Make it big enough to arch over the front door of the school.

97 Mo Math Parabola



Hunger Games : Survival Maths 2

April 11, 2012

Katniss’ weapon of choice is the bow and arrow.

Mathspig noticed in the film that Katniss was aiming the arrow directly at the target. This is a problem. Arrows drop under gravity. If Katniss aims directly at the target she will hit it below her aim point. To overcome this she must raise her arrow aim.

What angle should she choose?

Robin Hood used a long bow and in the film Robin Hood archers raised their bows at a very high angle to cover long distances. See the diagrams below from Robin Hood Give Us Your Best Shot

 According to The Flaming Arrow the speed of a modern arrow is 100 m/sec with a 65 lb draw weight.

Mathspig believes in using the SIMPLEST maths solution. In this case, very short arrow flight times are involved. 

So we will assume the arrow velocity (Va) equals horizontal vector speed (Vx). This is an approximation that makes the maths sweet. Such an approximation might work for the arow flight in the first diagram (above), but not in the second.

First, mathspigs, we’ll calculate the arrow flight time to a target 100m away and then we will calculate the distance the arrow would drop vertically in that time as this will tell us the point in the air where Katniss should aim.

 NB: An arrow will drop 4.9m over 100m to the target. In other words, Katniss would miss a human completely if she did not allow for gravity. Experienced archers automatically make this adjustment to their aim.

Gravity Eqn in the graph above comes from School for Champions


The Manly Mo Maths … or Gaga Graphs 2

July 13, 2011
















Who would have thought, mathspigs, that there was so much maths in hair.


Today’s post looks at the Majestic Moustache or the Manly Mo and moustache graphs.


Here are Mathspig’s two favourite moustache graphs.

First, is the Moustache and the Decline of the British-Empire or 100-Year Itch @ TWC, which includes a pictorial record of the moustaches decline.

The second graph is from the American Mustache Institute* showing the decline in corporate reputation with the decline in the popularity of the mo with PR professionals.

THESE ARE HILARIOUS GRAPHS, but they are Gaga or Made Up Graphs.

How does Mathspig know this?

Because of the numbers.  The Y-axis scale is missing or irrelevant to the graphs shown.

These graphs are a bit of fun, but graphs are used to sell you products and some graphs can be totally misleading.

See Graphs for the Lost and Bewildered

Mathspig, promised you Manly Mo Maths. And there is Maths in MOs.

Nick Cave’s Mo is a Parabola.

John Travolta’s Mo is also a parabola.

The Village People all parabola MOs.

Captain Jack Sparrow’s

 beard is ∏ !!!!




Goodness me, it’s a Tom Selleck  Eyebrow Mo Sierpinski Gasket



Not all MOs are real and Groucho Marx trade mark eyebrows & mo were painted on.

Why not get your own Manly Mo.

Or, mathspig teachers,  get your class to draw ‘parabolas’ on their hands and if a member of staff has a mo invite him into the maths class then on the count of three show him the whole class of ‘parabolas’

*If you love that moustache talk here is an American Mustache Institute Interview: