The Flying Colours Maths Blog: Latest posts

Wrong, But Useful: Episode 19

In this month's WBU spectacular: Big MathsJam is coming up - book quickly! The Relatively Prime Series 2 Kickstarter closes today. Donate quickly! Dave's got a chapter in a book - order quickly! Colin sails into the wind (virtually) Dave's moving house over half term: what maths are the movers

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The Mathematical Pirate and the Formula Triangle

The Mathematical Pirate took one look at the piece of paper attached to the dock. “They’re BANNING formula triangles?! By order of @srcav?!” He swished his sword around. “Let me figure out where he lives, I’ll show him.” “He lives… inshore, cap’n” said the $n$th mate. “It’s too dangerous.” “Can

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Using Anki to learn and revise

There's a constant refrain in the Flying Maths Classroom, these days, of "I can't quite remember..." Whether it's a trig identity or $21 \div 7$, the outbreak of amnesia in the quiet suburbs of Weymouth seems close to epidemic proportions. What can one tutor do, faced with an unstoppable tide

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How can I avoid mistakes?

A reader asks: I keep dropping marks in tests by making silly mistakes. Is that something I just have to get used to? Great question! I have, in a box of ancient relics upstairs, one of my GCSE mock papers. On the front of it is the number "100", scribbled

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An awkward inequality

Solve $\sqrt{|x|-3} > x-4$ Difficult, as the man said. Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. It’s not that it’s tricky to solve it - it’s just… fiddly. Let’s start by drawing the graphs. The right-hand side is easy enough: it’s a straight line with gradient 1, through the point $(0,-4)$. The left-hand

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277.42 reasons why we shouldn’t readopt the imperial system

“We do these things… not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” - John F. Kennedy I love a challenge. I go out of my way to do Hard Sums in my head, in the hope of one day matching the Mathematical Ninja’s prowess. I run long distances.

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Estimating $e$

Here at the Flying Colours Maths Blog, we're never afraid to answer the questions on everyone's lips - such as, why is $\left(1 + 9^{-4^{7\times 6}}\right)^{3^{2^{85}}}$ practically the same as $e$? When I say ‘practically the same’, I mean… well. 20-odd decimal places of $\pi$ are enough to get the

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The Maths Police Investigate: IndyRef edition

Gale surveyed the destruction with a face somewhere between disgust and admiration. Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer wrappers strewn across the room. A smell of haggis in the air. Bottles of whisky, half-drunk. Constable Beveridge… well, you wouldn’t say half-drunk. “You were up watching the referendum results last night, weren’t you?” Beveridge

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The Mathematical Ninja and the Supposedly Funny Cat

The Mathematical Ninja didn't bother with a warning. The Mathematical Ninja didn't even do that impressive whirry thing he does with a sword in each hand. No. The Mathematical Ninja conjured up a pistol and pulled the trigger - BANG! It was a blank, of course, but the student wasn't

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Does attitude really equal 100%?

Every few weeks, this bit of motivational excrement does the rounds on twitter (I saw it here, but it comes around from all sorts of sources). For a start, what's with the per cents? Per cents of what? You can't just take a number that's close to a hundred and

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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.

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