Math Street Art

May 12, 2018

Mathspig is a writer by trade and I’ve suddenly seen the parallels between Street Art and Writing.

But as Mathspig I am gobsmacked to find street artists devoted to mathematics too. Woo Hoo! More street art in my Kerry Cue Author Twitter feed. Click on sidebar.

Street Art by German Case of the Maclaim Crew, East Harlem, NY

Why not paint a maths mural of your own at school?


Maths News: Volcano Survivor 1

May 8, 2018

Kilauea erupts in Hawaii MAY 2018.

The amazing maths of volcano eruptions.

Can you out run a lava flow?

dantes_peak_ver2In every volcano disaster movie from Volcano (1997) with Tommy Lee Jones to Dante’s Peak (1997) with Pierce Brosnan someone somewhere tries to out run a lava flow.

Is this possible? (See movie cliché busted by maths here.)

Now a lava flow from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is threatening tiny town of Pahoa, Hawaii again. (below).

1 Kilauea Volcano USGS

You will find excellent information about the Kilauea and other volcanoes at the

US Geological Survey here.

How to stop lava?

As the temperature of lava exceeds 10000 C there are very few ways to stop lava. According to the Taylor Kate Brown SMH (10 SEPT 2014) options include:


Blasting (it with cold water)

Barricading it

Or adding concrete.

What if you are on your own.

Can you out run lava?

Lets do the maths.

Lava from Kilauea travels 17 yards per hour so the lava velocity is:

VL =   17 yds/hour = 15.5 metres /hour

(See Vox.com)

Mathspig simultaneous eqn 1


Maths News: Volcano Survivor 2

May 8, 2018

Kilauea erupts in Hawaii MAY 2018.

The amazing maths of volcano eruptions.

Once lava flows are established new RIVERLETS can run on top of the original lava flow at great speed.
Puu-Oo-USGS lava riverlets

The fastest Lava flows recorded were in Hawaii in 1950 when Mauna Loa erupted. The lava traveled at 6 miles (10 kilometers) per hour through thick forest. But once the lava flows became established and good channels developed, the lava in the channels was flowing at up to 60 miles/hour (97 kph)

Can you out run a lava flow?

You are 2 km from the volcano rim and start running.

VL =   97 kph = 1.6 km per minute (k/min)

     =   60 mph

VH = 18 kph = 0.3 km/min

   = 11.2 mph (miles per hr )


How long will it take for the lava to catch you?

Mauna Loa Volcano Lava Flow 1950 2



How long will it take for the lava to catch you?

Mathspig simultaneous Eqn 2


Maths News: Volcano Survivor 3

May 7, 2018

Kilauea erupts in Hawaii MAY 2018.

The amazing maths of volcano eruptions.

One of the greatest dangers in a volcano eruption is not the lava flow OR being hit by a lump of flying lava or rock, but by being choked by the fast moving scorching hot pyroclastic cloud.

Mt Unzen volcano-world

In 1991 pyroclastic cloud blew out of the side of Mount Unzen in Japan. NASA has an excellent diagrams for such an event here.

According to the NASA website:

Highly mobile, these flows reach velocities of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) per hour and can spread as far as 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the eruption point.

Can you out run a pyroclastic cloud?

Mathspig simultaneous eqn 3

Here is what happened in 1991 when the pyroclastic cloud blew out of the side of Mount Unzen in Japan.


Trick 8: Spooky Maths Magic

May 4, 2018

Spooky Maths Magic

Requirements; Smart board/data projector.

 This is mental maths, but not hard maths. You can play this video by Marco Frezza  directly to the class.

It may not work on everybody, but it would be very interesting to see how many students are fooled by this spooky magic man.


Trick 9: Coin Trick. How to throw 10 HEADS in a row!!!!

April 30, 2018

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:


Trick 10: A Foolproof Gambling System

April 23, 2018

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.