All of These Things Are Not Like the Other

NSW education has just launched a series of books for parents of little kids, “stories of inventors, innovators and trailblazers”. In principle, the idea seems optimistic and pushy, but sure, give it a go if you want. In practice, the five “mavericks” so far chosen are, um, something: Grace Hopper,* Katherine Johnson, Sophie Germain,** Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein. Continue reading “All of These Things Are Not Like the Other”

The Joy of Gambling

A couple weeks ago, the Federal Government announced new regulations for gambling advertising: no longer will people be encouraged to “Gamble responsibly”; now they will be informed that “Chances are you are about to lose”. They will be encouraged to reflect on “What’s gambling really costing you?” and to “Imagine what you could be buying instead”, and so on. Which will fix everything. Continue reading “The Joy of Gambling”

The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Statistics Lines

This one is different. It is ostensibly a year-by-year selection of the worst statistics lines chosen from the Complete Awfullest Works. Unlike for Number and Algebra and Measurement and Space, however, this is effectively impossible. Nothing similar, or anything, properly works for Statistics. Even the lines chosen for the Complete Awfullest Works were chosen largely at random.

The Statistics stream is so bad, so vague and thin and aimless and repetitive, the only proper way to appreciate the badness is to read the entire thing. There is likely just one person in Australia stubborn enough to do that: Merchant-Ivory has its Joe Queenan, and ACARA has its Marty. You’re welcome.

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WitCH 89: Proof Negative

VCAA’s new version of Specialist Mathematics contains “Proof” as a topic (which says everything one needs to know about VCE mathematics). A few commenters have alerted us to the fact that VCAA have now provided two videos: on induction (transcript and slides); and on proof by contradiction (transcript and slides). There are issues.

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A Scaffold for Nothing

It’s been fun VCE times down here in Victoria, but reportedly there have also been issues up north. While our students have been lamenting their inability to calculate the area of a 20 x 20 square (Murdoch, paywalled), New South Wales’ HSC students have been struggling with projectiles subject to air resistance. Same same. Continue reading “A Scaffold for Nothing”

WitCH 88: Unwarranted Confidence

One more from the 2022 Specialist Mathematics Exam 2. Belatedly, we’ve decided this one deserves its own post. It’s probably more of a PoSWW. But, for those weirdos who like to think about this stuff, there are probably also aspects to discuss.

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WitCH 87: Cannery Row

(The title is very clever, but you have to think about it.)*

This one is the last part of the last question of 2022 Specialist Mathematics Exam 2 (not online). It sparked a lot of discussion on the exam post, but seems worth its own WitCH. The question is clearly a mess, but what was intended, and how to think about the mess is not so clear, at least to us. (We showed the question to a professor of statistics, whose first reaction was “Ow!” We’ve applied the smelling salts, and we should be in possession of the professor’s second reaction soon.)

For clarification, we are (kinda sorta) told in the question stem that the masses of the empty cans are normally distributed, but we are told nothing else relevant, other than what’s given below.

Go for it (again).

*) Proving that the title is not really that clever.

Continue reading “WitCH 87: Cannery Row”