Posts Tagged ‘interesting’


1. Middle School Madness: BIG MATHS

June 12, 2017


Community Maths can involve the school community or the wider, local community. The aim is to get maths out of the classroom and make it a hands-on experience.

Set up displays, posters, demonstrations or art/maths projects in your school library, gym or school yard or take some interesting maths to the local library, strip mall, town hall, local gardens or shopping mall. It will mean planning the project, collecting the materials and making a phone call to  the local, say, librarian, but libraries, for instance, welcome community involvement.

Here are just some community maths project ideas.


Major maths conferences around the world have poster displays. So why not a display of students maths posters in your school library or local library or even a nearby shopping mall. And students should be present at allocated times to explain their poster to other students, parents or members of the public.

Roosevelt Middle School students Jacob Klausner and Oliver Adelson WEST ORANGE, NJ, who were finalists heading to the National MathCon Competition.

Some of the best middle school maths posters can be found at MathsCareers, UK. Here are some posters from the 2016 competitions.

Winner 9 – 11 years Maths Poster Competition

Fatimah Patel Preston Girls High School

Runner Up 9 – 11 years Maths Poster Competition

Maja Kowalska McAuley Catholic High School

Winner 12-13 years Maths and Music Poster Competition

Laeticia Junanto Bancrofts School



Maths students can construct displays that involve interesting maths. The most amazing maths dispalys Mathspig has seen were at the 13e Salon Culture & Jeux  Mathematique in Paris. Here is LAGA Phd student Attouchi @ the 13e Salon Culture & Jeux  Mathematique in Paris.

She was showing students how to use a graph to create anamorphic projections. More detailed instructions here!!!

Palestinian Maths teacher Daina Taimina has many zany ideas. You’ll more Creative Maths ideas here.

Mentalist Maths … OK. This may include some Card Tricks … but they’re amazing. You’ll find 10 amazing Mentalist Math Tricks here.

Make some interesting cubes here.

Give students a variety of maths challenges they have to solve

like these Maths Mystery Box Challenges here.

Or let students explore some of the inspiring maths websites and pick a project. You will love the amazing German website IMAGINARY. It’s in English and has some fascinating videos!!!!!

Perhaps students could construct double pendulum like this one demonstrated at the MiMa-Museum, Oberwolfach, Germany. Mathspig can’t stop watching it. Fascinating!!!!!!! The double pendulum has some demanding trigonometry, but at the middle school level the 2D graph traced by the lower pendulum is fascinating enough (Below). And maths can provide equations for this movement. That’s impressive.



2. Middle School Madness: BIG MATHS

June 1, 2017

Mathspig just loves this Fluid Geometry Mural by artist Clint Fulkerson. Here is a Speed Clip of Flulkerson at the University of Maine Art Gallery 2012.

Mathspig  went crazy trying to produce her own Fluid Geometry Mural. These guys are artists. But your middle school maths class can use a simple method (See GIF below) and make a fab mural on a white/black board or down a school hallway. This is a great end of year/semester/pre-holidays project.

The reason for tackling such a project is to engage students, who are otherwise not interested in maths as well as do some whole school PR for maths. The mural WILL be noticed. And it makes maths look COOL.You will find more interesting Fluid Geometry works by Clint Fulkerson here.


3. Middle School Madness: BIG MATHS

May 25, 2017

Mathspig loves this ‘Street Art’ time lapse clip made by projective geometry students at the Technical University, Munich. 

SO … thought Mathspig … lets do it! Two days later Mathspig’s eyes nearly crossed trying to locate the Vanishing Point (below), which helps artists draw 3D images. It didn’t work due to the angle of elevation of the camera. 

SO .. rethink needed. (See project 1 & 2 below)

Maths Meets Street Art:

Project 1

Students can draw this ‘hole in the earth’ by Circle/Line Art School on paper fairly quickly. The aim here is to practice 3D street Art.

Maths Meets Street Art:

Project 2: The BIG ONE

Students can draw this ‘concrete hole’ by MiltonCor on paper using a ruler, set square and pencils. Then they have to scale it up to a size large enough for them to sit on the steps. The class can the ‘concrete hole’  in chalk in the school yard. Basic shading only is required, not the shading detail shown in this video.

Finally, students can take a photo of themselves sitting on the ‘steps’ with maths books beside them. 

Another MATHS SELFIE!!!!


Mean, Median and Coffee: Busting an Urban Myth

April 21, 2017


A Fun Maths Exercise.

Students count steps.

No units of length used. 

You can find the free pdf worksheet  (included below) here.

Other fun middle school math(s) worksheets in the Hot Heels series at TpT include

Unit Rates, Angles, Ratios and Algebra.

There is a lot of maths and science behind coffee sloshing in a coffee mug. ‘The human stride has almost exactly the right frequency to drive the natural oscillations of coffee’ explains fluid physicists at the University of California at Santa Barbara. You will find their full explanation here.



Crazy Ways to Make Middle School Maths Cool

November 11, 2016



I started my maths workshop in Hamburg by stirring up some friendly rivalry.  And what better way to do this than by using statistics.

Which is the biggest country?

Australia is 21.5 times the area of Germany. So I counted off 22 workshop participants and pointed to one saying ‘Your’re Germany! Ha!’ Here’s another way to compare areas:


Which country has the largest population?

Germany has 3.5 times the population of Australia.

But the really interesting questions are:

Who drinks more beer?

Who eats more meat?

Here are the answers to these and other interesting questions from the introduction to my workshop with apologies to Brisbane and Perth:

Here are some amazing ways to make middle school maths AMAZING:

1. Defronting the Maths Classroom

2. Amazing German Maths Blog

3. m&ms and Exponential functions

4. Take a Mandelbrot Set Selfie

5. Best Fun with Algebra Ever

6. The Multi-legged Beast that Walks

7. Maths You Hold in Your Hand

8. Are you Maths Blind?

9. Real World Maths Selfies 

10. Magical Music Machine built with Maths

And don’t forget:

Maths News from around the World


7. Funky, Fab and Fantastic. Yeah! That’s Middle School Maths

September 7, 2016


Funky, Fab and Fantastic INTRO

The Maths Mystery Box is a great treasure chest to take into maths classes. It can be used an an extension exercise or to engage some disengaged students.


The IDEA is to use concrete objects and write a maths problem to go with the object. (See examples below) The appeal of the MATHS MYSTERY BOX is that it involves CONCRETE THINKING, sort of.  All text books involve ABSTRACT thinking, which some students do not like.


A student picks a maths problem from the box. A problem can be simple or complex. But it is not just a maths problem. The student gets to hold an object in their hand. They have to devise their own method of approach. And they must be resourceful. ie. use equipment at hand eg. their phone as a stop watch. Students like this activity. Even maths teachers like this activity as Mathspig found out at her workshop in Hamburg.










This is what the graph should look like.


Bob the Beetle moves very fast and students have to use available tools eg. phones to calculate his speed.



You’ll find the answer here.



Safety Lecture: Do not flick at anyone. But it is fun.







May 2, 2016

Mathspig Funny maths blogs

You will find the background pattern here.

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1 Header

The absolute delight of Spurious Correlations is its craziness. Tyler Vigen is studying law at Harvard Law School, but he puts together the most ridiculous data you can imagine to show the correlation between eg. Per capita cheese consumption AND the number of people who died by getting tangled in their bed sheets, people who drowned after falling out of a fishing boat AND the marriage ration Kentucky. Of course, what Tyler is demonstrating is the basic maths principle, mathspiggies, that correlation is not causation. Here is one of his fabulous graphs:

 1a Spurious Correlations Graph

Here is one graph from Spurious Correlati0ns (above) and the cover of Tyler’s New Book (below).

1b book cover

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 2. HeaderMath with Bad Drawings is run by Ben Orlin. He describes himself as ‘a math maths teacher in Birmingham, England. Before that, I taught in Oakland, California. I’ve taught (or am currently teaching!) every level of mathematics from ages 12 to 18.’

Not only is Ben’s humorous and fascinating take on maths interesting, his philosophy of life is worth a read too. e.g. We are all simultaneously experts and beginners, flaunting our talents while trying to cover our shortcomings the way an animal hides a wound.’

Here are two delightful examples of his maths with bad drawings:

2a. Maths with bad drawings2b. Maths with bad drawings

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3. Header

Mathspig has written about the fabulous What if? blog before.

Randall Munroe is a pro web cartoonist, maths nut and maths guru who answers crazy hypothetical questions using maths. His home website is xkcd.

His TED lecture is here.

Randall offers this warning to his KXCD blog: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors). Of course, this makes his blog even more interesting. Maths, profanity and silly humour. Bring it on.

How What if? blog asks and answers interesting questions:

What would happen if I dug straight down, at a speed of 1 foot per second? What would kill me first?

Could a bird deliver a standard 20″ New York-style cheese pizza in a box? And if so, what kind of bird would it take?

Here is one example:

3a What if ?

 3b What if?

And his book What if? Can be found here.

 3c What if? book cover

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The joy of Yan’s One Minute Math blog is his eclectic collection of topics from . Kow-Cheong Yan is a Singapore-based teacher, math consultant, math blogger and maths book author (Grade 1- 6).


The Lighter Side of Innumeracy gives an insight into maths incompetence and superstition in Singapore. It shows that charlatans can still prey on the innumerate. And Yan’s critique of Drill-and-Kill texts promoted in Singapore is refreshing in an age where politicians are forever calling for Back-to-basics teaching methods for maths.


 But my favourite post on Yan’s blog is;

Mathematical Fiction is not optional. The number of novels using maths as a theme is inspiring especially with Yan adding a comment like this:

If you’re looking for math, women, sex, and back-stabbing, The Wild Numbers (Philibert Schogt) is a math melodrama unlikely to disappoint.


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5. header mathjokes4mathyfolks

Mathjokes4mathyfolks is run by my good math(s) friend Patrick Vennebush, who lives in Virginia with his wife, twin boys and his Golden Retriever Remy. He loves math(s), laughing and telling jokes. He also runs online projects for National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

5a. Patrick

Patrick believes math(s) should be fun and his blog includes jokes, problems and real-life challenges. His collection of jokes is published in a book and cover the gamete from cool to Dad-style jokes. Here’s an example:

5b book cover5c joke

Here are some examples from his blog:

Simultaneous Equations and Pizza

5d pizza problem

Angle of Opportunity looks at the angle a boy should pee in the toilet bowl without splatter fallout!!!!

5d pee angle

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6 header mathfail

Here is Math Fail on Facebook. And here is the Math Fail blog run by Self proclaimed Math Geek Mike, who explains that in addition to math fails, you will find a huge collection of geeky math jokes, interesting math facts, dumb math news, puzzles, speed math advice, math related comics, funny math pictures and more!! (It is not a Cheeseburger Fail blog.)

It is just a fun blog to explore. Here are some examples.

6a Math Fail

6b Math Fail

6c Math FAil

6d Math Fail

Who can be offended? They’re just numbers!!!!

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Debbie O’Sullivan’s pinterest stream Math Puns/Jokes is worth a visit or two.



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8. header math cartoon

The Math Cartoons & Humor is pinterest run by Jiji the penguin. Actually, the penguin didn’t do it. Jiji the penguin is the mascot of STMath, a commercial education system that teaches math visually, and with minimum language, in the USA. Here are some examples of the humor: 8a



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9. header mathmashup

Mashup Math is mind blowing from its math philosophy to its eclectic approach. Anthony Persico runs MashUp Math. He has taught in NY, VA, and CO and runs a YouTube channel. He believes in inclusive math education,that all students learn math differently and that the one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective. The worksheets, teacher resources supplied via mathmashup are FREE!

9a Anthony pic

Here is the Facebook link to Mathmashup:

9b slope

This is a screen shot of  his roller coaster youtube clip on gradient or slope!!!

Here is his Mathsmashup You Tube channel (above), which is designed to help visual learners.


Here are some amazing sports stats (above) from the LA Times. Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant’s 30,699th and final field goal came from 19 feet with 31 seconds left against the Utah Jazz. This picture below shows every one of the 30,699 goals he scored. AMAAAAAAZING!

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10 header math antics

Math Antics Youtube Channel is run by, Rob and Jeremy, who are both funny and clear in their maths clips, which are directed mainly at Middle school. The youtube lessons are free, but Rob and Jeremy do charge teachers US$20 for a year of worksheets.

Their Math Antics website is here.

10a base 10

Base 10 video screen grab.

10b Order of Operation

Order of Operations Screen grab.