New Cur 5: Non-Reoccuring Decimals

Last year, we held a competition: What Are the Arguments FOR the Draft Mathematics Curriculum. The winner was officially no one, partly because everyone was too cynical to take the competition seriously, and partly because everyone’s cynicism was very largely justified. Still, we decided to declare John Friend the winner, for his suggestion in a different competition. John’s suggestion was an elaboration from Year 8 Number:

investigating the use of pronumerals to represent recurring decimals as their equivalent fractions, for example, let \color{RawSienna}\boldsymbol{x = 0.\bar7} then \color{RawSienna}\boldsymbol{x = 0.77777..} and \color{RawSienna}\boldsymbol{10x = 7.77777...} therefore  \color{RawSienna}\boldsymbol{10x \mbox{ \bf - } x = 7} and 9x = 7 so \color{RawSienna}\boldsymbol{x = \frac79} (old AC9M8N03)

This elaboration has been removed for the approved curriculum.

Continue reading “New Cur 5: Non-Reoccuring Decimals”

New Cur 4: Golden Moments

ACARA’s draft mathematics curriculum contained innumerable head-slappers, including the following content and elaboration from Year 8 Number (which we posted upon here):

recognise and investigate irrational numbers in applied contexts including certain square roots and π (old AC9M8N01)

investigate the Golden ratio as applied to art, flowers (seeds) and architecture

That has changed. In its stead, ACARA’s approved Curriculum has
Continue reading “New Cur 4: Golden Moments”

The Awfullest Australian Curriculum Algebra Lines

We’ve now gone through all the algebra – more accurately, “algebra” – sections of ACARA’s new mathematics curriculum. Parallel to our Worst Number Lines post, the following is our list of the worst algebra lines. Once again, it is important to note that these few lines do not begin to convey the unrelenting stupidity and triviality of the curriculum.

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WitCH 83: A Viral MAS Question

8 ÷ 2(2 + 2) = ?

This is really a PoSWW. Except, there are a lot of words.

Above is one of those stupid BODMAS things, which appear in the media about once a month. Except, this one has just been sorted by a couple of Canadian Maths Ed professors, in a Conversation article titled The Simple Reason a Viral Math Question Stumped the Internet. Regular readers will be aware of our method of resolving such questions, but we think there are aspects of the Conversation article that warrant specific whacks.

Have fun.

Continue reading “WitCH 83: A Viral MAS Question”

RatS 24: Ed Knight – Guessing C on a NY Algebra Test

Courtesy of frequent commenter Red Five, a maddening and absolutely hilarious article:

Guessing C For Every Answer Is Now Enough To Pass The New York State Algebra Exam

Ed Knight

NotCH 6: Not Abbott’s and Not Costello’s Mulsification


We have the bigger projects (AC, ITE, SD) in the works, plus an FOI appeal to do, plus 2000 words for a lefty magazine due in a couple weeks. We’re kinda busy. But, we’ll try to keep the general posts ticking along. This one is some fun, plus some history and a couple of puzzles.

One of the all-time great maths scenes is Abbott and Costello’s famous bit, where Lou Costello proves that 7 x 13 = 28:

Continue reading “NotCH 6: Not Abbott’s and Not Costello’s Mulsification”

PoSWW 23: Jo Boaler is Challenged

It’s Greg Ashman‘s fault. It’s always Greg Ashman’s fault.

A couple days ago Ashman had an excellent post, on Jo Boaler and her California Dreamin’ curriculum. That draft curriculum has been, let’s say, hammered, particularly by mathematicians. Not that such criticism slows Boaler:

“We understand education, and they have no experience studying education. Mathematicians sit on high and say this is what is happening in schools.” Continue reading “PoSWW 23: Jo Boaler is Challenged”

NotCH 2: A Digits Puzzle

OK, hands up who thought there was ever gonna be a second NotCH?

We’re not really a puzzle sort of guy, and base ten puzzles in particular tend to bore us. So, this is unlikely to be a regular thing. Still, the following question came up in some non-puzzle reading (upon which we plan to post very soon), and it struck us as interesting, for a couple reasons. And, a request to you smart loudmouths who comment frequently:

Please don’t give the game away until non-regular commenters have had time to think and/or comment. 

Start by writing out a few terms of the standard doubling sequence:

1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, etc.  Continue reading “NotCH 2: A Digits Puzzle”