Archive for the ‘Year 7 mathspig’ Category


How to Teach Maths … funny … funny … funny … BBC 4 Podcast

January 14, 2023

The BBC 4 THE INFINITE MONKEY CAGE podcast How to Teach Maths hosted by Brian Cox and Robin Ince is soooo funny and informative. This is not just for Maths lovers. Included on the panel are comedian Sara Pascoe and the very numerate Prof Hannah Fry, maths comedian Matt Parker and statistician Prof David Spiegelhalter. 

It is worth listening to Prof Brian Cox say he wasn’t so good at maths at school. But he loved PHYSICS. Prof Cox studied as a mature age student!!!!!!!!!

Find Podcast here:



How to TEACH MATHS TUNEin here

How to TEACH MATHS Apple Podcasts here


MOZZIE MATHS: How much blood do those little blood suckers suck?

December 9, 2022

You can learn almost everything you need to know about mosquitoes from this article on:

The Conversation.


Dangerous Math: Death by Snake, Spider, Quad bike, Kangaroo, Raccoon and Vomit

November 17, 2022

It’s almost summer in Australia. In Melbourne we’ve had floods, mosquito – mozzie- numbers surge and, last Wednesday, I nearly stood on a Tiger Snake that was escaping the floods near the Yarra River! 

This post, however, is really a PR exercise for sharks. We fear them. We’re horrified by the thought of being eaten alive!!!. We only have to hear the soundtrack from JAWS to feel the fear. Then we see news footage like the attack below and think it happens all the time. Look at that fin. It’s enormous! But sharks are not THAT dangerous. We really need to look at the statistics to understand the level of threat. See below.

Why do we fear sharks? Look at the numbers. REALLY. Show your students. What about stairs??? Quad bikes? Chairs? Bees? That’s when you should feel the fear!!! We are irrational beings. This is why we need maths. We can make rational decisions using maths. There is also a safety message here. The maths speaks for itself. We won’t hammer it.


There is lots of maths you can do with these tables.

  • Bar Graphs
  • Pie Charts
  • Ratios (What’s the ratio of death by Snake to Quad Bike?)
  • Fractions (Show death by jet ski to falling down stairs as a fraction)
  • Percentages
  • Powers to the base 10. How many deaths occur in each country per 100,000 or 1 x 10head of population for, say, Quad bikes or ATVs? We can use these numbers to compare death rates and find out how dangerous riding a Quad bike is in each country.

……..Population Data 2022

……..Aust…26 million = 26 x 106

……..USA…332 million = 332 x 106

……..Canada…38 million = 38 x 106

……..UK…67 million = 67 x 106

But we’re doing this for the SHARKS!!! Death Australia Mathspig

  1. Cyclists. 2. emergency lanes 3. fell off a chair 4.QUAD BIKES. 5. Horse, donkey. 6. buses 7. Cow, bull. 8. ice skates, skis or skateboards. 9. Venemous snake 10. kangaroo 11. bee 12. emu 13. Jet ski 14. Shark 15. Crocodile

Death USA Mathspig 21. Quad Bike or ATV: In 2007, 107 children younger than 16 were killed on ATVs. 2. Cyclists 3. choke on vomit  4. Cats, cows, horses, pigs, raccoons. 5. Bees, wasps  6.PWC or Jet Ski 7. Lightning 8. Xmas tree fires 9. Snowboard 10. Venomous Spider  11. Scorpions 12. Venomous Snakes , lizards. 13.Crocs & gators  14. Shark Death Canada Mathspig

  1. ATV Quad Bike 2. Canoe  3. Kayak 4. PWC or Jet Ski  5. Unpowered inflatable 6. Avalanches or landslides. 7. Lightning 8. Toboggan 9. Moose –Car collision 10. Bears (All Nth America) 11. Rattle Snake 12. Wolves 13. Shark

Death UK Mathspig

  1. falling down stairs.  2. Cyclists.  3. Choke on vomit   4. Falling off Chairs 5.  QUAD BIKE or ATV 6. Buses 7. Struck by cow, horse, other mammal 8. hornets, wasps, bees. 9. PWC or jet ski .10. Parachutists. 11. Skateboards, ice skates, skis 12. Canoe. 13. Shark 

Halloween Math: Witches vs Zombies 2

October 16, 2022



Halloween Math : Witches vs Zombies 1

October 16, 2022

There has been a real world Witches Vs Zombie Fight.

The witches of the Haunted House in Salem, Massachusetts, are at war with the Zombies of The Nightmare Factory nearby. A witch tripped a Zombie who was wearing a straight jacket!!!! And … read it for yourself in the Daily Mail, UK.

Links: Top Grossing Horror Movies

Blair Witch Project Budget here.


Real World Maths: Surds and all that jazz …

October 12, 2022

Eddie Woo is an Aussie Maths teacher who runs his own Youtube Channel. So popular is this channel in October 2015, Woo won the NSW Premier’s Prize for Innovation in Science and Mathematics. This youtube clip won’t tell you where you will use surds, but it does something magical.

It compares surds to different kinds of music to help students understand why mathematicians go crazy over the concept of surds. This clip tells why maths is soooooo special. There is no guesswork or fake information in this maths. Maths must be accurate. And surds demonstrate this point. (Look for the 5 min mark)

Will you use surds in real life?

Maybe. Probably, not. But surds are used in mathematical programs that demand accuracy. eg. engineering skyscrapers, building satellite dishes, and even in video games. But you won’t see them. Like so much mathematics surds will be hidden in some algorithm.

Here are two Examples:

1. The Golden Ratio:

Often written a 1:1.61 the Golden Ratio or Fibonacci Sequence appears in art and nature and has an aesthetic appeal to the eye, but the accurate ratio is:

2. The Quadratic Function

Satellite dishes, headlights, torches, and bridges all designed using the parabolic arc. The parabola is defined by the quadratic function and sometimes solving for x produces an irrational no. namely a surd. Rounding off can introduce inaccuracies that can become more dramatic when scaled up to the sie of, say, a bridge. 

3. The Golden Ratio in Music

Mozart arranged his piano sonatas so that the number of bars in the development and recapitulation divided by the number of bars in the exposition would equal approximately 1.618, the Golden Ratio. Find more @ CLASSIC FM.

Back to Mozart.

In the above diagram, C is the sonata’s first movement as a whole, B is the development and recapitulation, and A is the exposition.

And here is Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major as an example. Can you hear the Golden Ratio. Not really. But it’s there.


DART vs ASTEROID: Middle School Math

September 27, 2022

DART is a test

of NASA’s planetary defence plans.



                                       Guess what?

The DART(Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission was launched on Nov. 23, 2021, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

It is the size of a small vending machine and it has been travelling through space for 10 months.


Razzle-Dazzle them with Middle School Math that is, like, WOW!

September 4, 2022


10 Quick & Quirky Ways to Make the Math Classroom Rock!


1. Tell a Story: Life, Death, and Geometry

This is middle school maths at its best. To understand Wild Fires you must understand the angle of a slope. REQUIREMENTS: Just this story and a white or blackboard to show how the fire speed changes with the slope angle. 

Background Story

On 5th August 1949 Wag Dodge was dropped by parachute with 14 other firefighters into Mann Gulch, a steep-sided gully in a Montana pine forest. Firefighters who parachute in to put out small blazes started by lightning are called Smoke Jumpers. As they worked their way down the sides of the gully the breeze was blowing away from them. But the wind soon shifted. This produced an updraft, which increases the speed of the fire front. The 15 Smoke Jumpers turned and started running for their lives uphill.

What you have to know

Heat rises and so there is a Chimney Effect pushing the fire uphill. The rule of thumb used by firefighters is:

Each 10º increase in slope, the fire front speed doubles. So a fire front traveling at 60 kph (37 mph) becomes a fire front traveling at 120kph (75 mph) moving up a slope of 10º.

What happened to the Smoke Jumpers?

When the fire front changed direction Wag Dodge and 14 other Smoke Jumpers found themselves running for their lives up a steep slope. What did Wag do next?

ANS: Here’s the amazing thing. Wag realised he could not outrun the fire at that point. So he stopped, took off his backpack, took out some MATCHES, and lit a fire in the grassy patch in front of him. Just before the firewall hit he threw himself face down on the burnt patch. He survived. The other 14 firefighters did not. You will find maths exercises here: METRIC UNITS and USA UNITS.


Requirements: SmartBoard to Project this link.

Try it first. You might be surprised.


3. Urban Myth Busted

Requirements: This story.

Goldfish Memory This is what Epidemiologists do. They find out if there are statistics to support the theory. These mathematicians have been providing vital information during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

According to the ABC news, this myth was busted by a 15-year-old Adelaide schoolboy named Rory Stokes. He fed his goldfish near a Red Lego brick. The fish started anticipating food near the brick. He took it away and replaced it several weeks later. The fish remembered the red brick!!! More here.

Other maths myths to check out:

Chewing food 32 times before swallowing helps you lose weight. Here.

You must drink 8 glasses of water a day. Here.

You are 6 degrees of separation from anyone in the world. Here.

It takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile. Here.


4. Beat this! Drum Rates in BPM.

Requirements: A pencil and a timer on a phone.

Can students manage a drumbeat to popular songs? Here are some songs with their BPMs (Beats per minute listed). 

Tones and I     Dance Monkey  98 BPM.

The Rubens  Live In Life  104 BPM.

Lady Gaga      Bad Romance     118  BPM

……………….Just Dance          119   BPM

Flume   Rushing Back   176  BPM   (Try the middle of the track. It varies)

Panic! At the Disco      186 BPM   (Recommended by Jog.FM for jogging)

More DRUM BEATS and a story about Drummers’ Brains here.




Requirements: Phonebook.

Read the instructions at this link. Very simple. And you can amaze the students. Or Vice Versa. A student can amaze a maths teacher.


6.  Can you make a Square Bubble?

Requirements: pipe cleaners or stick cube and detergent and a bucket with water.

All ages love this exercise.

How? Read the link here.


7. Photo Scavenger Hunt

Challenge: Students use a smartphone to take 5 mathsy photos for homework. Ideas here.

However, start in the maths room. Look for parallel lines, angles, rectangles, spheres, parabolas (not in the textbooks). See parabola below.


8. Barcode Maths

Requirements: A product with a barcode.

Read this link and check the barcode.


9. Secret Code

Requirements: Box of matches, an accomplice.

Read this link and amaze the class.


10. Rolling coin Paradox & the Radius 

Requirements: 2 large coins. 20c in Australia, Half-$ USA or 25p UK.

Read this link first. It’s so counterintuitive.


When Area Calcs mean Big Bucks

August 25, 2022

Bank Notes returned to RBA data.

RBA grids for damaged notes.


Stranger Things Math: Eleven and the Galton Board

July 3, 2022

NOTE: Michael (above), who seems appropriately scary for this post, uses a commercial Galton Board.  It has one flaw. Many balls feed into the grid at once and this will change the pathways taken because the balls bump into one another. The best results come from dropping in the balls one at a time. If you had the patience to drop in 3,000 balls one at a time.