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IntMath Newsletter: Pi Day, new obesity index, resources

By Murray Bourne, 14 Mar 2011

14 Mar 2011 - Pi Day

In this Newsletter:

1. Latest feedback - IntMath reduces math anxiety
2. Let's drop pi
3. New measure of obesity - body adiposity index (BAI)
4. Resource - FREE (Federal Resources for Educational Excellence)
5. Friday math movies: (a) Pi Day Song and (b) Conrad Wolfram on Teaching kids real math with computers
6. Final thought – Positive results

Happy Pi Day! Today's packed Newsletter includes some articles and a video about Pi.

Did you know? The symbol for pi (π) was introduced by the English mathematician William Jones in 1706 and adopted by Leonhard Euler in 1737 as the standard symbol. Pi is the value of the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter.

And let's not forget it's Einstein's birthday today as well. He would have been 132 today.

1. Latest feedback - IntMath reduces math anxiety

A few months back I helped reader Lyzette (in South Africa) overcome some math struggles during her senior school year.

She has been accepted into university. I receieved this great feedback from her recently.

This is important - if students have an anxiety block about math, they will never reach their potential. Lyzette writes:

I hope you are doing very well

I've been accepted at an agricultural university & I'm enjoying it immensely. For the first time in my life Maths is my favorite subject. We do Bio Maths & applied calculations, relevant to the particular agricultural route we want to take. In my case it's wine making. Lots of volumes, areas & rates of change calculations 🙂

I noticed that a few other students have Math anxiety & harbor a very negative attitude toward calculations simply because something fundamental is not making sense to them. I suggested the website to 3 of the students who happen to be my friends. In just a few short weeks their mathematical confidence has been boosted 🙂

I thought you might like to hear positive feedback from way back here in Africa.


Thanks Lyzette! All the best to you and your university friends.

2. Let's drop pi

Suitable for: Everyone.

Here's my Pi Day article. It's about a proposal to drop using "pi" and use an alternative circle constant.

pi or tau?

Should we use a symbol other than pi?

Is pi wrong?

Find out more in Let's Drop Pi

Here are some more recent articles about Pi. I hope you find them interesting:

3. New measure of obesity - body adiposity index (BAI)

Suitable for: Everyone.


Math in the News

Researchers have suggested a new way to determine body fat - the BAI. What is the math behind it? This includes a calculator so you can find your own body fat level.

New measure of obesity - body adiposity index (BAI)

4. Resource - FREE (Federal Resources for Educational Excellence)

Suitable for: Students, teachers, homeschoolers

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence

This is provided by government agencies in the US. Go here for the Math Topics
Update: No longer available!

5. Friday math movies

(a) Pi Day Song

Let's continue the "pi" theme, on Pi Day.

Pi Day Song

Suitable for: Everyone!

Here's a fun song about learning the digits of pi - and some of its characteristics.

Friday math movie: Pi Day Song

(b) Conrad Wolfram on Teaching kids real math with computers

Suitable for: Mostly teachers, but students may find it interesting, too.

Conrad Wolfram on mathematics education

Mathematics is boring when it concentrates on calculation rather than understanding and application. Conrad Wolfram, one of the developers of Wolfram|Alpha, shares his views.

This is close to my heart. I certainlybegan to enjoy math more when I started playing with math software and it helped many things become clearer.

Friday math movie: Conrad Wolfram on Teaching kids real math with computers

BTW - Several readers have reported they cannot see the Friday Math Movies. I have changed the way I present them - do they work OK for you now?

6. Final thought – Positive results

Donald Trump is well known for his gruff manner.But he is also a very successful businessman and he lives by the following. It's the same for math!

If you don't have a positive attitude in business and in life, you will never, ever be successful. -- Donald Trump

Until next time, enjoy whatever you learn.

See the 3 Comments below.

3 Comments on “IntMath Newsletter: Pi Day, new obesity index, resources”

  1. dilli prasad sapkota says:

    Thank you very much.I was receivig continuously these math article.I am excited because i get chance to read math articles like this.It is very instructive site to learn mathematics.

  2. Richard Bediaku says:

    Please what the other ways of solving three set problems without using Venn diagrams?

  3. Murray says:

    @Richard: You can always solve them by trial and error (e.g. putting elements in different sets) until you find a solution. But generally, Venn diagrams are the easiest way to go!

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