A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

@mathslinks — Added to MathsLinks: What is an annuity? 9 Oct ago

Animated perimeter and area

Sunday, 13 September 2015 | 0 Comments

For a recent session with teachers about whole school numeracy, I created a couple of animations demonstrating:


Perimeter - animated demonstration

Also as a video, see MathsLinks.


Area - animated demonstration

Also as a video, see MathsLinks.

Area of a rectangle

Area of a rectangle - animated demonstration

Also as a video, see MathsLinks.

Excel for Mathematics General

Sunday, 30 August 2015 | 0 Comments

The Mathematics General (Stage 6, Years 11 and 12) syllabus in NSW includes numerous content points, considerations and suggest applications involving spreadsheets. But, I suspect, many teachers are not using spreadsheets in their lessons mainly because you get through the course without using them. Yet using a spreadsheet to complete some of the mathematical heavy lifting, can allow for the use of real-life data and the investigation of scenarios.

Instructions found in textbooks for using Excel in the course, are fairly prescriptive, taking away the opportunity for the students to work it out themselves.

I am putting together a web-site that demonstrates how to use Excel to complete common calculations. The idea is 1. teachers not familiar with Excel will have an easy to use reference and 2. students could use the site as a reference to put together their own spreadsheets (rather than being given step-by-step instructions).

The site is

I have a few calculations so far, from FM1, FM2 (financial mathematics) and DS3 (data). There's a suggestion link. Each calculation can be linked directly for student use (or referenced on an instruction sheet).

Screenshot from Excel for Mathematics General web-site

Share with your students, share with teachers, feedback welcome.

ps, it will take me a long time to cover the entire course. If you're interested in helping and know how to screen capture, get in touch.

Odometer, the Universe and trains

Friday, 28 August 2015 | 0 Comments

Today in class, Year 7, I linked to decimals:

  • the odometer in my car... rounding 19.999 to 2 decimals places is like 19999 on the odometer kicking over to 20000
  • π...
    and the universe
  • trains terminating at the end of the line
  • Luna Park, because trains terminate behind Luna Park
  • and of course, Arnie, the Terminator.

Pythagorean Dates

Tuesday, 18 August 2015 | 0 Comments

Pythagorean Dates WorksheetMonday (17/08/15) was a Pythagorean Day (172 = 82 + 152).

Unlike Pi Day, Pythaogorean Days don't care about which date format you adhere to. However, Pythagorean Days also don't occur regularly.

This Excel activity show students how to test dates to see if they are a Pythagorean Date (i.e. a Pythagorean Triad).

In 2015, there are three Pythagorean Dates: 17/08/15, 12/09/15 and 9/12/15.

Unfortunately, there might be limited interest in future years with only a few more Pythagorean dates between now and the end of 2025.

Spirolaterals - Year 5 Lesson

Saturday, 15 August 2015 | 0 Comments

For the second lesson with Year 5 students (the first is here), we created and investigated Spirolaterals.

Based on this edition of the CSIRO email newsletter we started with spirolaterals based on 90º turns (so, regular 1 cm grid paper - see MathsEssentials).

Spirolateral based on 90 degrees

We had lots of good discussion on why some rules closed the spirolateral and some didn't.

Here's a PowerPoint to help with the initial instructions:

We also tried triangular grid paper.

Triangular Spirolaterals

We also explored further with this online interactive:

Other online interactives include Wolfram Demonstrations and another GeoGebra.

I only found this excellent interactive from Ken Wessen afterwards:

Continue to all entries from August 2015

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Simon Job — ninth year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
MathsClass is about teaching and learning in a maths classroom. more→


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