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Category: Isn’t maths cool?

Anything about maths concepts or processes that I think is really cool.

Digit Disguises

This blog post is about a game I invented this week, and the game is AWESOME, if I do say myself.
DIGIT DISGUISES: A game of algebraic deduction
Players:

This game is designed for two players, or two teams.

Setting up:

Each player/team has two grids with the letters A to J, one labelled MINE and one labelled THEIRS, like the […]

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Zooming in to see the slope

A lot of people introduce the derivative at a point as the slope of the tangent at that point, which to me is quite confusing. It seems to me that the reason we want the derivative is that it is a measure of the slope of our actual function at that point, not the slope […]

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Ten years

On the 23rd of July 2008, I started my first day as coordinator of the Maths Learning Centre at the University of Adelaide. Today is the 23rd of July 2018 — the ten year anniversary of that first day. (Well, it was the 23rd of July when I started writing this post!)
So much has happened in […]

Posted in Being a good teacher, How people learn (or don't), Isn't maths cool?, Other MLC stuff | Tagged , , |

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The Human Galton Board

Last week we were booked in to do Human Markov Chains with several groups of school students, but it turned out there would be a lot fewer of them than we expected, and I didn’t think Human Markov Chains would work very well with under 20 students. I still dearly wanted to do a moving […]

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Human Markov Chains

This blog post is about a moving maths activity that I have wanted to do for years and finally got an opportunity to do this year in 2018. It’s a model of a concept called a “Markov Chain” using human movement.
In a Markov chain, there is a thing that can be in any number of […]

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Stop hating on cis(θ)

I met with some lovely Electrical and Electronic Engineering lecturers yesterday about their various courses and how I can help their students with the maths involved. And of course complex numbers came up, because they do come up in electronics. (I have not the slightest clue how they come up, but I am aware that […]

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Likeable primes

There is a Twitter account that tweets the prime numbers once an hour in sequence. (The handle is @_primes_.) Since before I joined Twitter, it’s been working its way through the six-digit primes and some of them are very nice. A lot of other people think they’re nice too, based on the fact that they […]

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65536

I have a whole suite of maths t-shirts that I made myself. One of them simply has the number 65536 on it. It’s been getting a bit of attention over the past couple of weeks, so I thought I might write about it.
65536 is my favourite power of 2. More specifically, it’s 216, which means […]

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Holding the other parts constant: it’s everywhere!

It seems like ages ago — but it was only yesterday — that I wrote about differentiating functions with the variable in both the base and the power. Back there, I had learned that the derivative of a function like f(x)g(x) is the sum of the derivative when you pretend f(x) is constant and the […]

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Differentiating exponents: two wrongs make a right

I was talking to a student about his calculus last week. He was trying to differentiate xx. (Actually he was trying to differentiate x ln(x) and had decided the best place to start was to raise e to the power of it, thus producing xx.) At first he tried this:

I asked him what he thought […]

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