Math Error

What does “MATH ERROR” mean? 

SHORT ANSWER: this means you have just asked the calculator to do a sum it doesn’t like. The three most common reasons for getting this error message are: 1) you have tried to divide by zero: forbidden in maths! If you type in $3\div 0$ you are asking the calculator “zero times by what equals

Zero x Infinity

WHAT’S ZERO TIMES BY INFINITY? 

SHORT ANSWER: 0 x ∞ = anything you like! Intrigued? Read on… LONG ANSWER: the question seems absurd: after all, zero multiplied by anything is zero, yet any multiple of infinity is always infinity. But 0 x ∞ cannot be both zero and infinity, can it? Infinity doesn’t behave in the same way as other

Type Maths Symbols

5 WAYS TO TYPE SYMBOLS π λ √∫≤∑≈ 

not to mention $\frac{e^{-t}}{y^3+1}$ To type Mathematical Symbols on your PC: 1) USE WINDOWS EMOJIS: To type ⅷ∀√∛∞∑²³ⁿ∃∞∫≈≡≥ and many more. Simply press windows key together with .  to bring up the emoji keyboard, then select Ω or ∞to bring up the maths palette. VERDICT: works with any app on PC including Facebook, Twitter, MS

Gradient of world's steepest road

HOW DO GRADIENTS WORK? 

Here I am at the World’s Steepest Road in Harlech, North Wales. The road sign indicates an almighty 40% – but how is this measured? ON ROADS: The 40% means that however far you travel horizontally, you travel 40% of that vertically. So if you go 100m across, you go 40m up. SO A ROAD

Measuring a Diabolo High Throw

USING MATHS TO CHECK WORLD RECORD ATTEMPTS: PETE’S DIABOLO HIGH THROW 

My friend Pete can throw a diabolo ridiculously high – check out this video of him in action! Pete thinks his throw is higher than the “official” world record of 23.92metres so asked me if maths could measure his throw. So, how about it, maths? METHOD 1 (not recommended!): get a long tape measure and

Which are better Fractions or Decimals?

WHICH ARE BETTER: FRACTIONS OR DECIMALS? 

DECIMALS ARE WAAAY BETTER THAN FRACTIONS: most GCSE students prefer decimals because they allow you to compare the sizes of two numbers at a glance! For instance, which is bigger out of $\frac{2}{5}$ and $\frac{3}{7}$? Um…? But in decimal form we can easily see that $\frac{3}{7}=0.428571…>0.4=\frac{2}{5}$. FRACTIONS RULE SUPREME: fractions allow for easy multiplication, and

Hypothesis Tests

HYPOTHESIS TESTS 

In statistics, these wonderful techniques allow us to use some data that we have collected to make predictions and conclusions about the real world. AN EXAMPLE: Amy and Bill are playing snakes and ladders, but Amy thinks Bill is cheating because he keeps rolling a six. Bill insists he is just being lucky. They decide

Powers, Indices and Exponents

WORD OF THE WEEK: INDEX 

INDEX (plural indices): you can see these in expressions like $5^2 = 25$. The 5 is called the BASE, the 2 is called the EXPONENT or INDEX, and the 25 is called a power (in this case it’s a power of 5).