Thoughts This Week…

A compilation this week..

Problems
Think Fast

From Desmos we have the outstanding graphing calculator, their Facebook page (you do not need to be a Facebook user to view this) is also worth keeping an eye on. Some of the photos available make ideal starters. See the Think Fast series or perhaps Mental Maths Monday; there are also several probability problems. I think I’ll try some of the Mental Maths Monday series with my sixth form students – look at this for example!

The problem shown in the image could be used with younger students but also with older students who could look at an algebraic proof.

Talking of problems, here’s a reminder of some of the great problems published in Numberplay in the New York Times, I do like this Coins in the Dark Puzzle! 

Video – Sexy Primes

This video from Numberphile made me think about possible starters / fuller investigations on gaps between primes; something which could be investigated by students of various ages. I like the idea of using it for proof with older students, for example considering which gaps are not possible between primes and why.

Statistics
I mentioned several Statistics resources recently, including the Standards Unit resources, Mostly Statistics, an activity I have used recently (with Year 8, age 12-13) which worked really well is S4 Understanding mean Median Mode and Rangeselecting the link takes you to a new page which includes a PowerPoint for the activity with an introduction and the solutions.

Reading
A newsletter I always enjoy comes from Murray Bourne, his IntMaths newsletters are always very clearly laid out and I always find something of interest. Recently he talked about the History of Mathematical Notation (see Item 2), note the now free download. See this page for more useful reading.

Writing
Thinking about notation reminded me of this useful advice from John Kerl: some excellent tips for mathematical handwriting. (There is a link for students on the Study Tips page on Mathematics for Students.

and finally…
In the news – look how useful mathematics can be! The University Sheffield Mathematics Department have been considering the very serious problem of how to build a perfect scone! You can read the paper here, skip straight to section 4 for the recommendations!