Tom’s Posts Are (Lagrange) Multiplying

Tom has a new post on his Teaching Mathematics blog: Lagrange Multipliers – A Historical Approach? Tom riffs off of a (not uncommon) poor 1960’s undergraduate lecture he had, on the method of Lagrange multipliers. Please support Tom’s blog and check it out.

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Let Them Eat Dreck

Yesterday, we wrote about the Maths Battles at Adelaide’s Prince Alfred College, but of course, the big, nationwide maths battling took place last week, with the holding of the annual Australian Mathematics Competition. Administered by the Australian Maths Trust, the AMC was undertaken by ballpark 200,000 school kids from around the country and overseas.

The competition is excellently done. We arranged and administered the comp for kids at our daughters’ primary school, and for such an everywhere undertaking the process was remarkably simple and human. Moreover, for the clueless such as ourselves, AMT’s email help was great: quick and clear and friendly. More importantly, the competition questions are excellent, clearly written and clever and well-chosen, progressing from very obvious to very not obvious (even at the primary level). The AMT, including strong mathematicians, and including a few of our friends, work very hard to get this competition right. And, to those mathematicians, particularly our friends, we offer these two words: screw you. Continue reading “Let Them Eat Dreck”

Notch 8: Battling Away at Prince Alfred College

Anthony Harradine is tireless in trying to save Australian Maths Ed. He is responsible for MathsCraft and Numerical Acumen, and all manner of things. Anthony invariably takes a positive, Nice Guy approach to all this. Nonetheless, we get along very well.

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Tom’s Latest Post: Introducing Negative Numbers

Tom has a new post on his Teaching Mathematics blog: Introducing Negative Numbers. Amongst other things, Tom suggests that Europeans eventually accepted this mathematical magic because of the genius and/or stubbornness of accountants. Please support Tom’s blog and check it out.

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I Can See Clarely Now the Brain is Gone

Last week, the Federal Minister for Education, Jason Clare released Strong Beginnings, his remarkable report designed to shake up initial teacher education. We really want to write about the report but we have this old-fashioned idea of reading things before writing about them, and we simply haven’t had the time. We haven’t even had the time to read properly the many opinion pieces on Clare’s report.* So for now, making a couple quick points and directing readers to Greg Ashman will have to suffice. Continue reading “I Can See Clarely Now the Brain is Gone”

WitCH 102: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Map

Some years back, I enrolled in the teaching Masters at the University of Melbourne. I lasted three days.

I can’t remember much specific of the nonsense I was presented, but I do remember clearly a tutorial-workshop in which we students were asked to construct a mind map of something or other. My fellow students went happily to work but I had never heard of such a thing. So I asked, and the kindly tutors explained what a mind map was. My reaction, possibly vocalised, was “What’s the point?” Continue reading “WitCH 102: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Map”

Witch 101: Engagement Party

This one of those lazy WitCHes, where we really should do the work and critique the thing but we just can’t muster the energy to do it. The WitCH is a video, a recent NSW Education conversation-lecture for K-6 teachers: Student Engagement in Mathematics. The star of the show is Catherine Attard, Professor of Mathematics Education at Western Sydney University.* Continue reading “Witch 101: Engagement Party”

Maths Anxiety Is Not a Thing, But Let’s Talk About It Anyway

A couple days ago there was an article in theĀ SMH, titled,

Bad with numbers? You might have maths anxiety

Yeah, maybe. Or maybe you just suck at maths. It’s a conundrum.

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