Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category



April 14, 2016


Background pattern found here.


1. Creative blog Mathspig

Botanica Mathematica is a Mathematical knitting blog  with patterns included run by Dr Julia Collins and Haggis the Sheep.


1a Creative Mathspig

1b Creative mathspig


2. Creative blogs Mathspig


 The Mathematician’s Shirts! is a creative maths blog run by Julia Collins and Madeleine Shepherd. Yes! The same Julia Collins as above. It is a small collection of shirts but Big on imagination and this project is something middle school students could tackle using an old shirt. More on Flikr here.


 2a. Tending towards hyperbolic by Madeleine


3. Creative blog Mathspig

The Division by Zero blog is very mathsy. Seriously mathsy. It is run by David Richeson, Professor of Mathematics at Dickinson College. Even though it involves tertiary level maths it is full of curiosities about maths such as this gem below:

Screen shot 2016-04-14 at 1.25.41 PM



I particularly loved the post about Gabriel’s Horn:

3a Creative Maths

And pictures of Gabriel’s horn made out of paper cones. Gabriel’s horn is the surface obtained by revolving the curve y = 1/x for x> or = 1/2 about the -axis. Mathematics professors ‘wow’ introductory calculus students by sharing its paradoxical properties: it has finite volume, but infinite surface area. As they say, “you can fill it with paint, but you can’t paint it.”


The Golden Arches get a working over as well. Are they based on a parabola, Catenary (strung up chain hanging under it’s own weight) or other. It turns out it is other … the Golden Arches fit an ellipse.

3b Macdonalds maths mathspig


4. Creative blog Mathspig

Visualising Math is a terrific Tumblr feed run by Monica Anuforo and Casey M. both college maths students from Minnesota, USA. I think Monic’a comments on the blog tell us all how important it is to engage Middle School students.


Monica Anuforo: Hello! I’m an 19 year old Nigerian-American female. Obviously, I’m a fan of mathematics. I was one of those people who were lucky enough to find out that MATH IS AWESOME as early as middle school as opposed to later in life.


4a Creative maths


The Tumblr feed is a fabulous collection of mathematical images including fractals, gifs and jokes. Some of these images (See below) could be drawn, coloured or constructed by Middle School students so they too can discover that maths is awesome!!!

4b Creative maths




5. Creative blogs Mathspig

Math for Lovers is an anonymous Tumblr feed run by Kcmr. It is an eclectic collection of maths art, gifs and jokes. While it hasn’t been updated for awhile the images are still worth exploring. Here are just two:

5a Creative Faig Ahmed

Faig Ahmed is an internationally recognized artist from Baku, Azerbaijan, who represented Azerbaijan at the Venice Biennale in 2007. He is well known for his conceptual works that utilize traditional decorative craft and the visual language of carpets into contemporary sculptural works of art.

5c Creative Cut and paste novel wall art

Cut and paste novel wall art at etsy.

You have to love a maths blog that announces:

This is why geometry is important kids. It can blow your mind.

This is a brilliant clip of Klemens Torggler’s kinetic art door based on rotating squares. The special invention makes it possible to move the object sideways without the use of tracks.


6. Creative blogs mathspig

Math is Beautiful,a maths tumblr stream, is oldish and seriously mathsy but some of the stunning visual images and interesting gifs would intrigue Middle school students. e.g. The image below is a screen grab of a circle of dots that rolls around the circumference inside a bigger circle …. but … but .. but … the gif shows that the dots actually only move along the diameters marked. Fas-kin-ating!

6a. Creative Mathspig


6b. Creative Mathspig


Here is another screen shot (above) of a gif tagged ‘I cannot stop staring at this. Try it. Your mind will be taken over by a higher power.


7. Creative Blogs Mathspig

The Advanced Geometry Tumblr stream is a stunning visual feast combining art, geometry and design. By art I mean … could be arty but naked bodies. But exploring the imagery is simply inspiring.

7a Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects


Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by ‘Istvan’ for NeonMob


8. Creative blog Mathspig

Susan Lombardo created the Math and Fiber blog for students in an upper division college geometry course. The beauty of this blog it gives step by step instructions on how to create a crocheted coral reef, adds the maths behind the project and many interesting links.


CONSERVATION CROCHET Project at the University of Washington

8b Gabrielle Meyers’ Hyperbolic Surfaces

And Gabrielle Meyers’ Hyperbolic Surfaces


9. Creative blogs Mathspig

Hyperbolic Crochet Blog


Also check out Hyperbolic Crochet Blog of a Palestinian Maths teacher. Daina Taimina combines math education, knitting and crochet and her love of art in her book Crocheting Adventures with the Hyperbolic Planes. This blog also provides a fascinating looking at math taught in a different language and script!!!!!!



10. Creative blogs mathspig

The Virtual Math Museum links you to some of the most fabulous maths artists in the world including:


Brian Johnston and his Hydrogen Orbital (above)


and Luc Bernard and his Kuen’s Surface:

A Meditation on Euclid, Lobachevsky, and Quantum Fields.



And more ….


2. Readability Algorithm

November 25, 2015

The above algorithms are called pseudocode because you do not type a letter to a computer to tell it what to do. You have to write code to instruct it.
But computer code, as my little sailor friend would say, uses a shipload of maths.
I am going to give you instructions by writing a letter to you because that is your CODE that you understand.
You are going to calculate the The Flesch–Kincaid reading score for The Hunger Games and a Harry Potter TEXT.
Don’t run screaming out the door. This is not too complicated.
The Flesch–Kincaid reading score or, quaintly, the F–K formula (Oops! Only one – )tells you the grade reading level of a text.
F-K formula
4. Flesch Kincaid Formula
We will use a basic version and a calculator:
5 F-K Formula Basic
You will need:
Word Count =
Sentence Count =
Syllable count =
The Flesch Reading Ease score is interpreted as follows:

6. Flesch Kinaid Readability Table

More info here.

READABILITY is important for Newspapers, books and websites

Text to be read by the general public should aim for a grade level of around 60 – 69 or Grade 8.
YA authors use the F-K formula to see if the text of their novel has the appropriate reading age.
YOU CAN TEST YOUR OWN WRITING! What reading age is your writing?



You may be able to SUE your BANK!!!!!!!!!

Contracts, by law in the US, should be written to a reading score of Grade 8. According to a recent article in the Telegraph, UK:
Insurance and banking customers who have been mis-sold financial products are more likely to be awarded compensation if they use a scientific test to prove policy documents were too difficult to read.
The “Flesch Kincaid” reading score is well established in the US, where most states require insurers’ policy documents to be written at no higher than a ninth-grade level (14–15 years of age) of reading difficulty.


Hunger Games And Harry Potter TEXT Readability
Readability Calculations: Method 1
You will do All calculations.
Readability Calculations: Method 2
You are the algorithm. You will cut and paste text into programs that auto-count words and syllables, collect this and other data from your computer and do the calculations using a calculator or online Web 2 calculator.
Readability Calculations: Method 3:
Cut and paste text directly into a Readability Calculator to get score.

Here are some interesting Readability Scores:

6a Readaility Score USA Constyitution


3.The Hunger Games Algorithm

November 25, 2015

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins TEXT

If Peeta and I were both to die, or they thought we were….My fingers fumble with the pouch on my belt, freeing it. Peeta sees it and his hand clamps on my wrist. “No, I won’t let you.” “Trust me,” I whisper. He holds my gaze for a long moment then lets go. I loosen the top of the pouch and pour a few spoonfuls of berries into his palm. Then I fill my own. “On the count of three?” Peeta leans down and kisses me once, very gently. “The count of three,” he says. We stand, our backs pressed together, our empty hands locked tight. “Hold them out. I want everyone to see,” he says. I spread out my fingers, and the dark berries glisten in the sun. I give Peeta’s hand one last squeeze as a signal, as a good-bye, and we begin counting. “One.” Maybe I’m wrong. “Two.” Maybe they don’t care if we both die. “Three!” It’s too late to change my mind. I lift my hand to my mouth taking one last look at the world. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare. The frantic voice of Claudius Templesmith shouts above them. “Stop! Stop! Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present the victors of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! I give you – the tributes of District 12!”


Readability Hunger Games: Method 1

The best way to count words and sentences is to cut and paste the text into a document and break the text up into sentences. This is a good exercise for students of all middle school students. You will find the text breakdown and syllable count here Hunger Games Readability

Word Count =

Sentence Count =

Syllable count =

Note: This last count will send you crazy. I kept getting different counts. Go with the middle count. ie. How many syllables in GIVE? G-ive. 2 syllables?

7. Hunger Games REadability Method 1


Readability Hunger Games: Method 2

Word Count =

Sentence Count =

Syllable count =

You will still have to do a sentence count, but you can cut and past the text into the following:

Word Counter


Syllable Counter


Word count = 234

Syllable count = 288

Sentence count = 26

8. Hunger Games Readability Method 2


Readability Hunger Games: Method 3

Simply cut and paste the text into here or here.

9 Hunger Games readaility Method 3



4. The Harry Potter Algorithm

November 25, 2015

Here is the Harry Potter Text:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

“Have you ever seen anything quite as pathetic?” said Malfoy. “And he’s supposed to be our teacher!”

Harry and Ron both made furious moves toward Malfoy, but Hermione got there first – SMACK!

She had slapped Malfoy across the face with all the strength she could muster. Malfoy staggered. Harry, Ron, Crabbe, and Goyle stood flabbergasted as Hermione raised her hand again.

“Don’t you dare call Hagrid pathetic you foul—you evil—”

“Hermione!” said Ron weakly and he tried to grab her hand as she swung it back.

“Get off Ron!”

Hermione pulled out her wand. Malfoy stepped backward. Crabbe and Goyle looked at him for instructions, thoroughly bewildered.

“C’mon,” Malfoy muttered, and in a moment, all three of them had disappeared into the passageway to the dungeons.

Hermione!” Ron said again, sounding both stunned and impressed.”


Readability Harry Potter: Method 1

Break the above text into sentences. Count the words, sentences and syllables.

You will find the text breakdown and syllable count here. Syllables in Harry Potter Text

Word Count =

Sentence Count =

Syllable count =

The syllable count is tricky. You will find my sentence-by-sentence count here.

10 Harry Potter Readability Method 1

Readability Harry Potter: Method 2

You will still have to do a sentence count, but you can cut and past the text into the following:

Word Counter


Syllable Counter


Word count = 138

Syllable count = 194

Sentence count = 14

11 Harry Potter readability Method 2

Readability Harry Potter: Method 3

You can calculate the Flesch Kincaid Score by cutting and pasting text here or here:

12 Harry Potter Readability Method 3


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

June 18, 2015

Maths topics 10 According to the dailytech website rats show addiction to chocolate including m&ms mathspig m&m maths 8

Picture 3

mathspig m&m maths  953 m+ms would be  a little over a shot glass full of candy. Toxicology Data Network link. You can find more Death by Chocolate Maths here and here.


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

May 21, 2015

Mathspig Hairy

Hellooooo My Little Hairy Creatures,

This week we have hairy maths coming out our ears, my friends. Not only will you find some  interesting hairy facts and figures below, you will find plenty of hairy math activities for hair crazy middle school students:

Hair Maths 1: The curly problem with curly hair

Hair Maths 2: Why CGI needs maths

Hair Maths 3: How OLD is your hair?

Hair Maths 4: The Great SHAMPOO rip off



Mathspig hair maths punishment

Mathspig has always had a THING about hair maths. And here are some funny, outrageous and challenging maths problems involving hair:

Eurovision Hair Math: When will Jedward’s hair be as tall as Jedward?

 Really Weird Geometric hair

How weird are maths teachers haircuts?

Mass Murderer or Maths teacher?



HOW MANY BAD HAIR DAYS in your life?

According to The Manchester Confidential a consumer survey found that the average British female will endure 7,332 bad hair days in a lifetime!!!!

How many years is that? Do the maths.

7,332/365 = 20.09 years 

0.09 x 365 = 32.85 = 33 days

O MY GOODNESS, 20 years and 33 days of BAD HAIR. 

Makes you wanna go back to bed or shave your head.

Hoo Roo




4. Why the best figure skater doesn’t always win

January 23, 2014

According to the fab NBC video, Mathletes,  nine Figure Skating judges score competitors for the complexity of each element (eg. Triple axel or triple spin jump) and the quality of the performance producing a score out of ten.

Joannie Rochette

Joannie Rochette

Brendan Kerry Australia

Brendan Kerry Australia…..

figure skating score 9 judges nbclearn

This is a typical figure skating score card for one competitor.

The final score, however, is based  on the average for only 5 of these scores. Two are eliminated by random selection (Red Brackets). Then the top and bottom scores are removed and the remaining five scores averaged.

Screen grab NBC Mathletes

Screen grab NBC Mathletes



of Skater A & B:

figure skating score A

Skater A:

Four scores are removed. Two by the random selector (in brackets) and then the top and bottom scores (with line drawn through them)

7.00 + 7.00 + 7.00 + 6.75 + 7.00


=  34.75/ 5 = 6.95

figure skating score B

Skater B:

Four scores are removed. Two by the random selector (in brackets) and then the top and bottom scores (with line drawn through them). But this time the random selector eliminates two low scores.

The average:

7.00 + 7.25 + 7.00 + 7.00 + 7.00


=  35.25/ 5 = 7.05

Same score cards but Skater B gets a higher average score than Skater A.

Skater A is, in fact, beaten by a random number selector!!!!