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Mathematical Days :: Newsletter for June 2020

Monday 1st June 2020

Another month flies by and we are now ready to welcome June and all it may have in store. I send you positive wishes and hope that you, your families and pupils are well and happy.

You probably know that 14th March is known as Pi Day because the digits of the date written in the m/dd (3/14) format produce the first three digits of pi. Less well known is Fibonacci Day on 23rd November because when that date is written in the mm/dd format (11/23), the digits in the date form a Fibonacci sequence: 1,1,2,3.

You have now been primed for this month’s puzzle. Have you ever heard of Pythagorean Theorem Day? The day squared plus the month squared is equal to the last two digits of the year squared. The last one was 15th August 2017 because 15² + 8² = 17². The next Pythagorean Theorem Day occurs before the end of this year (2020). Can you figure out when it will be?

Pythagorean Theorem

If you found that too easy a more challenging puzzle is to work out the date of the next Pythagorean Theorem Day after 2020.

The answer is at the end of this newsletter but it’s no fun if you peep too soon. Let it simmer in your mind for a while before looking at the answer.

With nowhere else to go except for a weekly trip to the supermarket and daily exercise excursions I have spent a lot of time sitting on this very chair creating new resources for the website. Thank goodness for the video links with students that have provided a little more variety in my day.

The one project that I have really been engrossed in and that has taken more hours than I care to remember is Tran Towers. The original version I had written 17 years ago in Flash so it was long overdue for an upgrade to make it work on newer devices and provide more functionality for the teacher.

The initial concept was based on Martello Tower, written by Anita Straker back in the nineteen eighties. I can distinctly remember how pupils would eagerly book the one computer (RM Nimbus) I had in my classroom for break time use. They worked in pairs and were totally hooked on the quest to find the treasure.

Even though there is an ultimate objective to find the treasure room there are nice puzzles and challenges to do on the way and many of the rooms have nice mathematical things to look at and talk about. Give it a go yourself and let me know what you think.

Magic Square Jigsaws are the latest additions to the Magic Square activities and are graded in order of difficulty. The same level can be enjoyed numerous time as the magic square is randomly generated so pupils are highly unlikely to get the same puzzle twice.

It is only when I typed Magic Square into the Search page that I realised how many magic square (3 by 3, 4 by 4 with various levels of help, Unmagic, Negative, Patterns and Perfect) activities there were. That should keep everyone busy for a while.

Transformations of Functions is something I have been meaning to create for a long time. I have had the idea in mind every time I worked with a student on this concept and now the idea has been realised. Students can roughly sketch their idea of what the graph will look like before the accurate transformation appears.

Area Maze puzzles are fantastic, self-contained bundles of problem solving fun (that sounds like a bad translation of the original Japanese description). I have now doubled the number of puzzles available and present them to you in four levels of difficulty. Enjoy.

Area Maze

Three new help videos were made last month. One for Collecting Like Terms, one for Fractions and the other for Adding Decimals. These videos are intended to be concise, to-the-point reminders for pupils so that they can do the online exercises. They are not intended to teach the topic for the first time; the teacher will always be best at that!

A couple of weeks ago on a Monday morning the website produced a warning message to visitors caused by my hosting company making a mistake with the updating of the site’s SSL certificate. Luckily the problem did not last for long but it reminded me to remind you that and can be used temporarily if ever the main site is unavailable.

Thousands of virtual Transum Trophies are earned by pupils around the world each day for completing a Transum online activity. As I am sure you know the trophies are collected in the pupil's own virtual trophy cabinet online which they can proudly show to their teacher, parents or friends.

As a Transum subscriber you can award Teacher Trophies to your pupils for all sorts of achievements. You could issue a trophy for a good effort, taking part in a group project or any reason you see fit. Each pupil can receive a maximum of one Transum Teacher Trophy each day.

Teacher Trophy Example

The button linking to the trophy awarding page is on your ‘My Account’ page.

Finally the answer to this month’s puzzle:

This year’s Pythagorean Theorem Day is the 16th December 2020 because 16² + 12² = 20².

The next Pythagorean Theorem Day is the 24th July 2025 because 24² + 7² = 25².

That’s all for now,


P.S. What did the mathematical acorn say when it grew up?

A. Gee I'm a tree (Geometry).

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