Maths class needs a makeover: TED talk by Dan Meyer

17 05 2010

When you teach someone some maths, what you think maths is all about really affects the way that you teach it. Teachers’ own beliefs about how maths works and what it is used for strongly influences the way that they teach the subject. Teaching is an art and a very creative process where you have to decide the best way to communicate an idea to your pupils so that they understand it.

Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s just so beautiful

16 04 2010

“Mathematics possesses not only truth, but also supreme beauty”

-Bertrand Russell (English Logician and Philosopher 1872-1970)

Bertrand Russell

What did he mean by this? Do you believe him? Have you ever seen anything in maths that you think is beautiful?

When considering what to put in this post, I had to sift through literally dozens of beautiful and mysterious things that I’ve seen in maths including:

  • The idea that all natural numbers (except one) can be made by just multiplying together prime numbers. What is a prime number?
  • That insects called cicadas spend most of their lives underground as grubs but then pupate and come out of their burrows after 13 or 17 years (prime numbers) after which they live for only a few weeks. Why is this interesting? It is thought that they do this because it would make it hard for predators to have evolved that could specialise in eating only the cicadas. If instead they appeared in intervals which were not prime numbers, say every 15 years, predators appearing every 1, 3 and 5 years would definitely meet (and eat) them. Amazing!
  • Pythagoras’ Theorem about how you can work out the length of sides in right angled triangles. The history of this one is amazing, seeing how he proved it with only geometry rather than with algebra.
  • The idea of irrational numbers. Those are the ones that have an infinite number of non repeating numbers after the decimal point. I find this fascinating because infinity is such a hard idea to get your head around.

All these things are interesting, but, for me there has always been one thing that totally amazed me and it’s to do with a really simple bit of maths that seems to appear in all sorts of different places in nature: Fibonacci Numbers. Read the rest of this entry »





We are live!

15 04 2010

Hi!

Thanks for visiting our brand new blog! As you can see, there’s not a log on here yet but don’t worry about that; over time we’ll be filling this page will loads of great blogs making maths easy and fun for everyone.

Our plans for this blog are to regularly post interesting and useful articles about maths that show you what great fun it can be and also to help you understand more about this great subject! Please get involved with the site as much as possible and help our blog grow. Rate our posts, leave comments, sign up for blog updates and send suggestions for articles that you’d like to see on the blog. Please feel free to email us your ideas and comments to:

yourfriendlymathstutor@googlemail.com.

Thanks for reading and we really look forward to showing you how interesting and fun maths is!