7 Steps to Support Learning Recall by Marilee Sprenger

25 04 2018

Here’s an informative article. Thank you Marilee.


Latest News From Jo Boaler and the Team

24 04 2018

Here’s the latest update with links to some exciting resources. Thank you Jo and team.

Scavenger Hunt for Mathematics and Grammar by Sarah Pavlik – Hernandez

16 04 2018

How about this as a way to engage students as they are assessed for their understanding.

As an alternative to prizes of sweets there could be coupons for free time during class or alternatives for home learning or even a night with reduced home learning etc.

Maths Inside: Clever Bees Networking Workshop

14 04 2018

Earlier this week I conducted a 1 hour workshop with senior students using the Maths Inside material in the Bees with backpacks Activity 4 Clever bees. These are found on the AAMT site at http://amspp.aamt.edu.au username: inside_trial password: @mspp16

I had a large model of the 4 flowers configuration and a box painted white as a beehive on the floor of the classroom. Students were in groups of 5. On the table were packets of 6 foam petals, a hive and a bee – 1 per student.

bees flowers

We started with the video https://vimeo.com/160169946

Students then discussed the number of routes a bee could follow when visiting 1 or 2 or 3 flowers etc. This was recorded on the Number of Ways handout.


Students then used the sheet with 4 flowers and beehive (various distances included) to look for the shortest distance travelled for the bee to get pollen from all of the flowers before returning to the hive. They had decided that saving energy was important for such a small insect.


They then saw Nearest Neighbour video and applied the method to the 4 flowers sheet. After comparing answers they saw the video for Kruscal’s Algorithm. This method was also applied to the 4 flowers sheet. Then they saw the video for Prim’s Algorithm and applied this method to the same handout.

The fact that there is a hive which must be started from and finished at, complicates the solution. I did not incorporate this factor into the solution, but left that aspect for the students to pursue at a later time. Students were sent home with a sheet containing details of the distances to 5 flowers.


This workshop will appear in greater detail in Reflections later in the year.

The Plight of a Farmer

13 04 2018

The drought in the country is making it very hard for the farmers.

My brother has a Dorper stud. Dorpers often have multiple births. He scans for twins and separates those ewes into a different paddock before lambing. He currently needs to feed the stock every day. The ewes are lambing. When he feeds the ewes, the lambs get separated from their mother. This puts them in danger of being taken as an easy feed by one of the 11 hungry eagles waiting in the trees in the paddock. There are hungry foxes around too. 

In a better season the stock would be grazing and ewes with new lambs would keep apart more. The season is warmer than normal for this time of year. The ewes are coming into water every day and staying near the water during some of the day too. In a better year they would water every second day.

His query is how to best tackle this issue.

Lambing occurs over about 6 weeks although the bulk of the lambs will fall within 2-3 weeks. There are options in the future to try to have the lambs fall closer together, so whatever strategy is put into place, the manpower involved is required for a shorter timeframe. Each lost lamb has the potential of selling for about $120 in 4 months time. 

Does he install some sort of flexible fencing or yard system and separate the ewe and twins as soon as they are born, for a couple of days. And then put them into a smaller paddock with less sheep and lambs for another few days before releasing them back to the main mob? This raises the issue of feed and water, besides the cost involved.

Then there’s a system called smart shepherd. 


Or a virtual fence


I asked my brother if he could count the new lambs in the mob and track that each day to get a perspective of the duration and number of separate paddocks required. I received a video of maybe 200 frolicking lambs having the time of their life racing around. In short, it’s too hard to count them.

But such numbers do exist for the stud which one would assume would fairly accurately mimic the main mob. So a simulation of the situation could be developed. 

The main mob has 400 ewes. The stud 119.

Here’s the stud story.

Date Number Lambs Number Ewes that lambed
13-Mar 6 4
14-Mar 5 4
15-Mar 2 2
16-Mar 0 0
17-Mar 4 4
18-Mar 0 0
19-Mar 7 5
20-Mar 3 2
21-Mar 4 2
22-Mar 3 2
23-Mar 0 0
24-Mar 0 0
25-Mar 0 0
26-Mar 9 5
27-Mar 13 11
28-Mar 14 12
29-Mar 12 8
30-Mar 7 4
31-Mar 13 9
1-Apr 4 3
2-Apr 6 4
3-Apr 17 12
4-Apr 6 6
5-Apr 0 0
6-Apr 2 2
7-Apr 0 0
8-Apr 2 2
11-Apr 1 1
12-Apr 3 2
Total 143 106

There’s no definitive answer but students could still investigate the pricing of the alternatives (maybe in terms of the value of lambs) and then make a justified plan according to their opinion.


Australia drought risk revealed in ice core analysis

11 04 2018

Here are some details of previous droughts.

How does this season compare?

My brother has had

41 mm on 2/12/17

7mm on 24/2/18

This last summer is quoted as being the 5th hottest on record

They are into April and still getting mid 30 degrees temperatures.

There’s no grass and soon temperatures will fall and any grass, after future rain, will grow very slowly.

This data allows for discussion and various graph construction in the classroom.

When should we have the Fluvax?

10 04 2018

Here’s another scenario for students to consider in class. If they graphed the rising incidence of influenza and the immunity protection gained by being immunised say late April, mid May, end of May etc they could then estimate when they considered was the best time to be immunised in order to match the likelihood of catching influenza with protection from immunisation. This is another real example of the use of percentages and odds. The answer is partially a matter of preference. No answer is perfect. Any choice still has risks associated with individual circumstances. Justification is necessary for any opinion given. A great topic for classroom discussion and/or debate.