Often, students , who are struggling with a concept, find it even more challenging when changing grades and/or schools because a new teacher uses a different method to the one they were taught.

eg. Long Division must have the most ridiculous number of methods for doing it.

Add a multi-cultural classroom and even more confusion results.

Find the method that works for you. Stick with it and practice, practice, practice.

eg. Long Division

Here is the BEST EVER long division method

THE LEGO ARGUMENT:

It would be tragic IF Lego blocks only had one solution. That is IF 6 Lego blocks could only be arranged in one way. In fact, the number of possibilities of arranging 6 blocks is MIND EXPLODING!

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

2.

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 Flikrhere.

3.

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:

I particularly loved the post about Gabriel’s Horn:

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.

4.

Visualising Mathis 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.

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!!!

5.

Math for Loversis 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:

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.

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.

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!

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.

The Advanced GeometryTumblr 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.

Susan Lombardo created the Math and Fiberblog 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.

Also check outHyperbolic CrochetBlog 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.

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.

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

We will use a basic version and a calculator:

You will need: Word Count = Sentence Count = Syllable count = The Flesch Reading Ease score is interpreted as follows:

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?

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Are your FINANCIAL and LEGAL CONTRACTS READABLE?

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.

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Hunger Games And Harry Potter TEXT Readability Readability Calculations: Method 1 YOU ARE THE COMPUTER. 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.

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!”

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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?

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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:

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.

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: