Archive for February 2011

Performing SURDgery

February 20, 2011

Everyone knows about numbers. How difficult can they be, really?

You start with one, and go up – it’s easy.

Of course, there is zero, and you can go down into the negative numbers. That’s still OK

What about between numbers – fractions and decimals. No problems yet, right?

OK, so what else can happen –  well we start divding the numbers into types. Natural (counting), Whole (natural and zero), Integers (Whole and negative), Rational (numbers that can be expressed as fractions). You can calculate the fraction of any repeating decimal by a simple process (shown at either of these links: 1,2)

That about does it, right?


You Can’t Touch This (or Kick Asymptote Maths!)

February 20, 2011

Mathematics gets a bit crazy sometimes – when is a function a function? Where can functions go and not go? What the hell is a domain? A Co-domain? an Image? What’s with these asympotes? Maths is supposed to be about numbers, right?

Well, don’t worry. In a half a year or so, this will seem easy – you will be wishing you could deal with simple stuff like rectangular hyperbolas, fourth order polynomials with real roots, trunci, functional long division, remainder theorems and partial fractions.

Wait a moment. That probably wasn’t as reassuring as I thought…

Nevermind – You enrolled in mathematical methods, it was your choice, so you may as well get into it. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. And if it does kill you, at least you won’t have to do anymore homework!


Radiation is RAD? (updated with summary sheet)

February 19, 2011

Everyone “knows” that you can tell if something is radioactive – just turn of the lights and it will glow green.

Everything from toxic slime, the incredible hulk, teenage mutant ninja turtles to the simpsons and beyond tells us that this is true. Unfortunately, it is not that simple – radiation is not green, and not visible, and most importantly of all, will not give you superpowers. Dr. Karl has a great summation of this idea, here.

Radiation has had an interesting history. From the early days, when it was thought to be a universal cure-all, to now, when it is (largely) considered an unmitigated risk – lethal in all circumstances.

You already know more about what radiation actually is than the vast majority of people, and if you have explored the blog, you will have found the previous posts I have made about radiation (1, 2), in which case you will know more than your classmates – which is always a good thing!

This post is to give you some information about the history of humanity’s interactions with Radiation – which is pretty bizzare to say the least!


Turn up the volume!

February 13, 2011

Welcome to Enrichment Mathematics for 2011 – this year will be intense, but fun. The purpose of this class is to challenge you, and prepare you for advanced studies of mathematics next year as part of your VCE.

We will be using the VCE General Mathematics (Advanced) textbook, but we will also be using other resources as appropriate. Just in case you were worried, this is a year 10 course, and you won’t be expected to do everything a year 11 student of advanced general would be. This doesn’t mean you should try – all of you are capable of mastering the content if you have enough commitment.

Our first topic of study is “Mensuration” – the study of areas and volumes, including calculation of compound formulas, pythagoras in three dimensions, and circular geometry. Each of these topics will be covered in one week, and our first test will be in the third week.

It is time to get started – you should begin by checking your notes from last year; Measurment was part of last year’s curriculum. You need to review your bound reference (a summary book that you write yourself; you may take this into all tests), and get it ready for this year. That means that if you have one, bring it to class. If you don’t, buy one and then bring it to class.

I’ve included a few videos below the fold to help you get started with the content. You need to make a point of visiting this blog, watching the videos and commenting. Part of your assessment this year will be throught your participation and contribution to this blog.