Witch 96: Root Con All

This is the fourth of our three WitCHes on VCAA’s Specialist Mathematics Exam 1 Sample Questions. Yeah, yeah it’s Douglas Adams-ish, but it wasn’t deliberate. We were undecided on this last one, and it’s not as compelling as the others. But, for similar reasons for the other WitCHes, we changed our mind and decided to post it. (There were other close calls, and we’ll soon update this post with brief comments on all the questions.)

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Witch 95: Top of the Pops

This is the third of our three WitCHes on VCAA’s Specialist Mathematics Exam 1 Sample Questions. Newcomer aps was first to comment on the error, in regard to VCAA’s webinar, where the same question is “solved” (and see the subsequent comments on that post). Once again, it seems worthwhile to encourage a prominent discussion on an unfamiliar topic, and there is more to say than has come up so far.

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Witch 94: What Are the Odds?

This is the second of our three WitCHes on VCAA’s Specialist Mathematics Exam 1 Sample Questions. It may not be quite bad enough for a WitCH, but it’s very not good. Our main reason for posting it is because we believe there is more in the question than might meet a teacher’s eye. As with our previous WitCH, this question is on a new topic, and some visible discussion seems worthwhile. Continue reading “Witch 94: What Are the Odds?”

Witch 93: Base Balls-Up

This is the first of three WitCHes on VCAA’s Specialist Mathematics Exam 1 Sample Questions. We spent a solid hour writing a critique of this one, and another half hour removing the bad language. Given the topic is new, however, and will be not so familiar to many teachers, we decided the question required more prominence, and proper discussion. The question was first flagged by commenter Michael, and the sample questions have been discussed generally on this post and this post. Continue reading “Witch 93: Base Balls-Up”

WitCH 92: The Webs VCAA Weaves

This is a continuation of a previous WitCH. To provide teachers with some guidance on the new VCE Specialist Mathematics curriculum (Word, idiots, and see comments here), VCAA had posted two webinars, on proof by contradiction and proof by induction; we WitCHed it. VCAA has now added four new webinars, which can be viewed here, and with companion documents as indicated below.

Get to work.

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A Special Decline

Adam Carey has a report inĀ The Age today, on Victoria’s declining enrolments in Specialist Mathematics. Which is quite the puzzle. After all, if an “advanced mathematics subject” is a prerequisite for tertiary studies, and if on top of that the subject is well constructed and offers serious and interesting mathematics, then student numbers should be very healthy. Oh, wait. Continue reading “A Special Decline”

WitCH 90: Tiles and Tribulations

This is late, and it isn’t very Christmasy. But it came up as part of another project, and it’s been bugging us, so Bah Humbug.

The following is a question from 2022 Mathematical Methods Exam 1. It’s been discussed some on this post, including a concerning rumour (edited 24/12/22), and we also hammered some of the wording on this post. It is clearly deserving of its own WitCH.

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VCAA’s Lesser Literary Offenses

One of the all-time great literary wallops, by one of the all-time great writers, is Mark Twain’s Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses:

Cooper’s art has some defects. In one place in “Deerslayer,” and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record.

There are nineteen rules governing literary art in the domain of romantic fiction — some say twenty-two. In “Deerslayer”, Cooper violated eighteen of them. Continue reading “VCAA’s Lesser Literary Offenses”

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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