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

September 4, 2022

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

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## 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.

……………….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.

# 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.

## Stranger Things Math 2: Now You are the Galton Ball

July 22, 2022

Mathspig has become obsessed with the Galton Board since watching ELEVEN dropping discs into the peg board on STRANGER THINGS 4.

Now thanks to David Butler, University of Adelaide, you can turn your middle school class into Galton Balls. You can find 100 randomly generated instruction sheets for each human Galton Ball at David’s website. (Link above)

Ideally, you would have 3,000 students to do this activity. But the class exercise ends with something approximating a Normal Distribution or Bell Curve constructed from video tap casettes. And the NOrMal Distribution is spooky.

More on the Galton Board Math here.

## No Frills MATHs Skills for Parents 4: FRACTIONS for Beginners

June 6, 2022

Here is a post on Lego Fractions by New York Grade 3 teacher Alycia Zimmerman. Surprisingly I found this on an art website.

Just play with the Lego blocks. Add and subtract … you can even multiply and divide.

Next time.

## Killer Easter Egg Math

March 30, 2022

According to The Guinness Book of Records the largest chocolate Easter Egg went on display at Le Acciaierie Shopping Centre, in Cortenuova, Italy, on 2011.

Egg Weight   = 7,200 kg  = 15,873 lbs

Height = 10 m =  34 ft

Circumference = 19.6 m = 64 ft

The sugar content for easter eggs is: 55-65% by weight

So we will assume the sugar content of the giant egg was in the middle:

# 60%

## What’s the Maths Curriculum got to do with it? WHEN Maths is, like, soooo BORING!!!!!

February 22, 2022

Australia is reviewing its Maths Curriculum.

Sides are taken. Arguments are rife. See the excellent article by Donna LuCracking the formula: how should Australia be teaching maths under the national curriculum?, The Guardian,13 FEB, 2022)

Should teachers teach? Or students explore problems? (Called Cognitive Activation in academe!)

Why not, both? Then add outdoor maths (below) plus defronting the classroom sometimes and try some maths selfies for homework. More ideas here

It doesn’t matter what’s written in the curriculum, the biggest problem in maths for students is

# BOREDOM.

Here, to tackle boredom are:

# 41 Maths things to do before you’re 12

A growing body of research shows us that outdoor play leads to better physical and mental health, has positive effects on cognitive function and learning, and reduces the incidence of behavioural problems.” Maria Zotti, Nature Play, SA.

Peter Dunstan, Principal Kilkenny PS, SA, writes in SAPPA magazine, Primary Focus, that outdoor play fosters “wonderment, independence and freedom” as well as “social skills, imagination, creativity and problem solving”.

Inspired by SAPPA and NaturePlay,  Mathspig has produced her own outdoorsy maths list:

References:

9. You can measure the volume of your lungs by blowing one breath into a balloon and pushing it into a full bucket of water. Measure the overflow.

21. Light intensity links. Here and here.

## FREAKY FRIDAY: Surd & Absurd Maths Word Maze UK edition

October 25, 2021

PDF file: 1. Crazy math maze work sheet 1 UK

PDF file: 2. Crazy math maze work sheet 2 UK

# CRAZY MATHS MAZE WORKSHEET ANSWER

PDF file: 3. Crazy math maze work sheet ANS UK

## FREAKY FRIDAY: Surd and Absurd Math Word Maze USA edition

October 25, 2021

PDF file: Crazy math maze work sheet 1 USA

PDF file: Crazy math maze work sheet 2 USA

# CRAZY MATH MAZE WORKSHEET ANSWER

PDF File: Crazy math maze work sheet ANS USA

## Maths in the Real World: 10 Attention Grabbers for Middle School

September 5, 2021

## 2D Random Walk or doing the Bell Curve Shuffle

July 28, 2021

This is the best Middle School Probability outdoor exercise  EVER!

# Equipment:

1 coin per student.

# Instructions:

In the schoolyard, students move back and forward with the flip of a coin. Must be a good flip. This exercise works best with a grid drawn on the schoolyard in chalk, perhaps. (See pic below) If possible film the exercise from above.

Now here are lots of people doing this 2D random Walk on Wall St. The results are totally amazing.

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Watch for the Bell Curve. It’s AWESOME.

This video was made by The National Museum of Mathematics NY.

Check out their Squared wheeled bike here.

May 25, 2021

## Click on the POP-UP answers under each question.

1. How many bristles in a toothbrush?

2. What % of Oxygen in the atmosphere comes from forests?

3. How loud was the loudest recorded human scream?

4. How many apples could kill an average-sized adult?

5. How many countries in Africa?

6. What happens when you Google this number, 241543903?

7. How many vertebrae in a giraffe’s neck?

8. What is the highest recorded wind speed?

9. What is the world record high-jump height for a guinea pig?

10. How many times does England fit into Australia?

11. How much did the most expensive dessert ever cost?

12. Why is 70 a weird number?

13. Why Google Googol?

14. How many burgers does McDonalds sell a second worldwide?

15. If the population of the world was spread evenly across the USA, what area would we get each in basketball court sections?

16. How many times was the most frequently married person in the world, married?

17. Why is Zero Zero Zero like 123?

18. What is the world record for the greatest number of snorts in 10 seconds?

19. How long would it take to grow your hair to your feet?

20. What number causes the greatest loss of money in the world?

1. How many bristles in a toothbrush? HERE

2. What % of Oxygen in the atmosphere comes from forests? HERE

3. 3. How loud was the loudest recorded human scream? GOOGLE IT!

4. How many apples could kill an average-sized adult? HERE

5. 5. How many countries in Africa? GOOGLE IT!

6. What happens when you Google this number: 241543903? HERE

7. How many vertebrae in a giraffe’s neck? HERE

8. What is the highest recorded wind speed? HERE and HERE

9. What is the world record high-jump height for a guinea pig? GOOGLE IT!

10. How many times does England fit into Australia? GOOGLE IT!

11. How much did the most expensive dessert ever cost? GOOGLE AGAIN.

12. Why is 70 a weird number? HERE

13. Why Google Googol? HERE

14. How many burgers does McDonalds sell a second worldwide? HERE

15. If the population of the world spread across the USA , what area would we get each?