Archive for the ‘probability’ Category
MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig MathsPig …………………………………………………. with Kerry CueApril 25, 2015
Not stupid. Just, like, lazy.
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 ….
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.
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:
Look at the following questions and see if you can work out why the maths is totally dodgy.
1. Dumb and Dumber
Solar Plus claimed, after a survey of 60 customers, that 99.98% of customers would recommend their product.
What’s wrong with their Maths?
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!
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?
4. Can you out run a fireball?
This is a Movie Cliché we see over and over. But is it possible?
A Fireball travels at 400 m/sec. That’s metres/sec. Now can you do the maths?
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?
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.
(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?
8. 9 out of 10 serial killers prefer murdering kids with Emo hair.
Does this sound reasonable?
Quick Answer: There’s a lot of joke maths out there but some folk take it seriously.
Middle school maths challenge
%, probability and a fight to the death
This problem is trickier than you think. You will need this information.
You will find more HUNGER GAMES maths including How long would it take you to bleed to death? here.
Mentalist Vs Mathematician Slapdown
Requirements: A coin for each student & smart board or data projector.
First ask your students to toss a coin 10 times each.
Ask each student how many heads in a row they threw.
Now ask students ‘Do you think it is possible to throw 10 heads in a row?
It can be done. Here is how you do it.
Derren Brown is a UK mentalist, magician, hypnotist and maths guru. He’s awesome. He shows audiences how a lack of understanding maths, especially probability, leads to misinterpreting the facts.
Now play this video to the students:
Math Mentalist Devises Foolproof Gambling System
Requirements: Smart board/Data Projector
or Chalk & Talk
This is the most awesome way to introduce probability.
Mentalist Derren Brown devises a foolproof gambling system. He sends a girl , Kadisha, the number of a winning horse in race to be run the next day. It wins. He sends her the winning horse and race number 4 more times. She ends up with winnings close to £ 1000 before the final race. Derren convinces her to borrow money for the last bet. She does. She places £4,000 on a horse. Did it win?????
Watch Part 5 of The System
If you are not convinced Derren Brown can come up with a foolproof system for horse race tipping, let me explain The System. He took 7,776 e-mail addresses, divided them into 6 equal groups and sent each group a different number for a horse in a 6 horse race to be run the next day. Naturally, one group of 1296 had been given the winning horse number. This group was divided into 6 again and given the number of the ‘winning’ in a six horse race the next day and so on.
Race 1: 7776
Race 2: 1296
Race 3: 216
Race 4: 36
Race 5: 6
Out of 7776 punters, only one punter was given in advance five horse race winners in a row. Was it Kadisha. You will have to watch the Youtube above.
You can watch THE SYSTEM in full here. It takes 47 mins.
So you wanna be FAMOUS and fabulous and uber-cool too.
Maybe you wanna be the Chris Rock of maths. Being famous is soooooo cool.
…………….……You get attitude!!!
……………………You Get cool sunglasses!!!
….You get a chauffeur that’s not your mum!
But what are the chances? What is the probability that a kid at your school will become famous one day? Cate Blanchet went to Mathpigs kids’ school. But in Australia we don’t make a fuss. They haven’t put a picture of her on the wall or anything.
So mathspigs let’s work out the probability of you becoming a STAR, BABY!
Here is an interesting statistic from Psychology Today.
The first question is how do you measure fame? Do you have to be on TV to be famous? Do you have to be a Hollywood star? Should you be a wax dummy in Madame Tussaud’s? Not as a job. I mean because you are so fabulously famous.
Perhaps, you could use Tom Weller’s humorous Rictus scale (a parody of the Richter Scale) for earthquake intensity using media coverage as a guide to fame. Just replace the persons name for the word ‘scene’.
I’m thinking around ‘5’ looks like FAME, but you decide. Now count how many ex-students from your school (and any current ones) who have become famous in the last 20 years and do the maths.
|1||0-3||Small articles in local papers|
|2||3-5||Lead story on local news; mentioned on network news|
|3||5-6.5||Lead story on network news; photos in nation newspapers; governor visits scene|
|4||6.5-7.5||Network correspondents sent to scene; president/PM visits area; commemorative T-shirts appear|
|5||7.5 up||Covers of weekly news magazines; network specials; “instant books” appear|