Sunday 1st May 2022

Tra la! It's May! The merry month of May!

That lovely month when ev'ryone goes

Mathematically astray.

For some it’s exam time while for others it’s a chance to do some Outdoor Maths. You can begin the month with the May Day calendar questions or wait until Wednesday when your inner nerd can celebrate Star Wars Day (May the fourth be with you)!

Meanwhile, in the spirit of this newsletter, let us consider the puzzle of the month.

You have two cubes and your task is to write numbers on each of their faces to make two strange dice. The dice can be rolled and their scores added to give any total from nought to 12. How would you number these cubes if the sum of the twelve numbers you choose should be a minimum?

The answer will be in next month’s newsletter but do let me know if you have solved it before then.

I hope you enjoy playing the new Pi-Mon memory game. It will not develop mastery nor promote deep learning but will hopefully be enjoyable, fun and encourage a positive attitude towards learning mathematics. Pi-Mon (to rhyme with Simon, the game which became a pop culture symbol of the 1970s and 1980s) helps players memorise the digits of pi. It might also spark an interest, or at least a familiarity with the number pi making it less of a daunting, anxiety-inducing mathematical concept.

Have a go and try to improve on your personal best score. Claim a trophy each time you break your own record and share your achievements with family and friends.

I have created a new Missing Operations exercise to go with the lesson Starter of the same name. The exercise is of course interactive with students choosing the appropriate mathematical operation from a drop-down list. There are 5 levels ranging from a simple ' Numbers up to 10’ lower level leading up to the challenging Level 5 questions including fractions.

Drawing 3D Objects on the isometric dotty grid relieves the teacher of a huge marking burden. The computer can mark the pupils’ attempts at the first five levels so they can benefit from immediate feedback. There is an open, sandbox, practise section called ‘Try!’ and level 6 challenges pupils to find (in their heads or with plastic cubes) all the ways four cubes can be joined face to face to make unique shapes (spoiler – there are eight different ways).

I took a two-week driving holiday during April so I only found myself with time to make one help video during the month. The subject of the video was Equivalent Fractions and it was specifically designed to help pupils do the Equivalent Fractions online exercise - which now has a new Level 5 (thanks for the idea subscriber Ann).

Exam Revision:

IB Exam-style questions – I have created many questions similar, but not exactly the same as those that have appeared on past IB Standard level papers. They are designed for you to try in these last few weeks before your final exam. Sorted by syllabus statement:

(I)GCSE Higher/Extended  Exam-style questions – Here are collections of (I)GCSE Higher/Extended question which can be accessed individually but are also presented in sets of 5 which can be printed on A4 double-sided paper.

(I)GCSE Foundation/Core Exam-style questions – Calling teachers of students working towards (I)GCSE Foundation/Core exams; These collections each contain six questions that can be answered online for instant feedback and one question requiring pencil and paper. You could assign a workout per day

Checklists - Here's a link you may wish to pass on to your students. It's a few very straight-forward checklists of skills. Objectives you find easy disappear while those you need help with become highlighted and a link to resources is provided.

Finally the answer to last month’s puzzle which was about a ship, travelling at constant speed away from the coast of Transumvania. A drone flies in the same direction as the ship at ten times its speed but doesn’t leave the coast until the ship is 180km away. How far does the drone travel until it reaches the ship?

The answer could be worked out using the speed, distance, time formula and a bit of algebra but it can also be solved thinking about ratios. At the point where they meet the ship will have travelled a further one-ninth of 180km and the drone ten-ninths of 180km putting them both 200km from the coast.

That’s all for now, take care stay safe,

John

P.S. The improper fractions helpline is open 24/7