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IntMath Newsletter: Halloween, GeoGebra resource

By Murray Bourne, 31 Oct 2012

31 Oct 2012

In this Newsletter:

1. What happened to the IntMath Newsletter?
2. Math-inspired Halloween Pumpkin
3. Resource: GeoGebra Examples
4. Intmath polls
5. Math puzzles
6. Friday math movies
7. Final thought - overalls

1. What happened to the IntMath Newsletter?

It's been a while since the last edition of the IntMath Newsletter. Thank you for your patience!

I've had a very busy few months, especially now that I'm doing freelance training work. My many tasks have included:

  • Training teachers (running courses and giving feedback on lesson videos)
  • Training university math lecturers (mostly one-on-one feedback on lectures)
  • Doing volunteer training in Cambodia (Phnom Penh and Battambang)
  • Developing online mathematics courses

I'm a bit more free over the next few months so I hope to get back to writing the Newsletter more often. I've got a large number of article requests and I'm looking forward to writing them!

2. Math-inspired Halloween Pumpkin

Math-based Halloween pumpkin

Here's a neat mathematically-generated Halloween pumpkin, developed using the Mathematica computer algebra system. You can manipulate it using the supplied CDF document.

Math-inspired Halloween Pumpkin

3. Resource: GeoGebra Examples

GeoGebra is an excellent free math exploration tool. (All schools should use it and give students interesting assignments where they learn math by making geometric constructions.)

Bezier flower made with GeoGebra

See several GeoGebra examples by Malin Christersson. Math topics that are covered include polar coordinates, functions, trigonometry, calculus and statistics.

4. Intmath polls

The recent IntMath poll (August to October 2012) asked readers about their use of gadgets when learning math. We hear a lot about how tablets are taking over in this "post-PC" era, but not yet, based on this (very unscientific) set of results. It's interesting that the numbers of students using calculator and mobile phone are very close. With a good phone app, you don't really need a calculator.

I mostly learn math using:

Laptop: 25%

No device: 24%

Computer (desktop): 20%

Calculator: 15%

Mobile phone: 12%

Tablet (iPad etc): 4%

Total votes: 3900

Latest poll - math homework: The current poll asks readers about the amount of math homework they do per week. You can add your vote on any page in

5. Math puzzles

The puzzle in the last IntMath Newsletter involved a story about Percy, Quincy and Robby. The correct answer (that Quincy gets $345) was given by Shaun, Peter Hunter, Thomas A Buckley and Dineth. As Dineth said, the puzzle had a bit of a problem, since $10 was left over and it was not clear who should get it.

Latest puzzle: A tangent at P to the smaller of 2 concentric circles intersects the outer circle at Q and R as shown. The length of QR is 14 cm. What is the shaded area?

circle puzzle

Leave your responses here.

6. Friday math movies

Math Matters Digital Arts

(a) Advancing the Digital Arts

Every time you see a computer graphic, you are looking at math in action.

Friday math movie: Advancing the Digital Arts

Medical statistics could be flawed

(b) What doctors don't know about the drugs they prescribe

Ben Goldacre exposes a dirty truth the drug companies don't want you to know - medical journals prefer to publish positive results.

Friday math movie: What doctors don't know about the drugs they prescribe

7. Final thought - overalls

Thomas Edison was an inspiring inventor and is well-known for his tenacity. Here are his thoughts about opportunity.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. [Thomas Edison]

Until next time, enjoy whatever you learn.

See the 33 Comments below.

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Comment Preview

HTML: You can use simple tags like <b>, <a href="...">, etc.

To enter math, you can can either:

  1. Use simple calculator-like input in the following format (surround your math in backticks, or qq on tablet or phone):
    `a^2 = sqrt(b^2 + c^2)`
    (See more on ASCIIMath syntax); or
  2. Use simple LaTeX in the following format. Surround your math with \( and \).
    \( \int g dx = \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}} \)
    (This is standard simple LaTeX.)

NOTE: You can mix both types of math entry in your comment.


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