January, 2014

Quotients and remainders

A few months ago, I wrote a post about replacing long division with a coefficient-matching process. That's brilliant for C2, but what happens if you're looking at a C4 question that wants a quotient and a remainder? Well, it gets a bit more complicated, that's what happens. But it's not

Wrong, But Useful – Episode 11

The first non-trivial palindromic episode of Wrong, But Useful, in which Colin gets a touch of the Samuel Hansens and starts picking fights, and Dave does his best to calm things down. Fight #1, with loyal listener @srcav about which form of a straight line is better. The opposite of

Proving three points lie on a straight line (GCSE vectors)

Need help with problem-solving? Fill out the short blue form on the left and get free tips on how to approach maths questions - delivered direct to your inbox twice a week → If you ever study GCSE vectors questions, you'll spot a pattern: there's normally a (relatively) straightforward first

Proving three points lie on a straight line (GCSE vectors)

If you ever study GCSE vectors questions, you'll spot a pattern: there's normally a (relatively) straightforward first part which involves writing down a few vectors, and then something like "show that points $O$, $X$ and $Y$ lie on a straight line." Pretty much every student I've ever worked with on

Why the maths of infinite sums is dangerous

This is a follow-up to last week's piece on the Numberphile video claiming that $1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + ... = -\frac{1}{12}$. I mentioned something in the last article about certain1 infinite sums not being well-defined, and wanted to add some examples to show how they can

Why I don’t buy that $1 + 2 + 3 + … = -\frac{1}{12}$

Thanks to Robert Anderson for the question. I told him that the sum of an infinite number of terms of the series: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + · · · = −1/12 under my theory. If I tell you this you will at once point out to

Inverse sines near a half: Secrets of the Mathematical Ninja

"So, $\sin(x) = 0.53$," said the student. "32 degrees," said the Mathematical Ninja. The student frowned - the Mathematical Ninja's showing off was starting to wear her down - and typed it into the calculator to check. "$32.005^º$, actually." "I'll take that," said the Mathematical Ninja. "How did you guess

Dealing with M1 vectors

OK, so you've got to grips with the SUVAT equations, you're on top of resolving forces, you understand that $F=ma$ and you have M1 under control... only for them to start throwing $\bi$s and $\bj$s around. Who ordered those? Maybe you have a vague recollection of vectors from GCSE -

Wrong, But Useful: Episode 10

This month, @reflectivemaths (Dave Gale in real life) and I discuss: The birth of baby Bill (d'aww) Dave's loyalty to More or Less, and nappies WBU ultra-loyalist 's comments on Episode 9 and a plea for reviews Whether to up our podcasting output in an attempt to outdo Math/Maths and

The Compulsory New Year’s Resolution post

A big hello to 2014! Last year was a fantastic year for me: I spoke at the Edinburgh festival, I ran the Berlin marathon, I had crosswords published in 1 Across... oh, and I became a dad for the first time. Cracking year. 2014 is going to struggle to top

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Where do you teach?

I teach in my home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth.

It's a 15-minute walk from Weymouth station, and it's on bus routes 3, 8 and X53. On-road parking is available nearby.