π ≈ 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342… click for the first million digits!

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Alternative timeline of the history of mathematics

Alternative timeline of math history… 15-ft-long wall poster

Stairs investigation…

Tees + mugs…

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Algebra resources

Resources listed here have been mainly designed for projecting onto a whiteboard. Most also include materials that can be printed off to make supporting worksheets.

If you download and use any of the materials… they are free, so a brief email giving some feedback would be great (to: feedback AT-SIGN pifactory.net).

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Investigation to support writing and simplifying formulas. Write the formulas for shapes built from a square area x and quadrant area y. Extension square and quadrant side x.
Powerpoint
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Draw a pattern based on the equations of lines. Complete the pattern and write the equations of lines. Investigation to reinforce slope-intercept form.
Word
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Second investigation to reinforce slope-intercept form. Involves drawing lines when not possible to find the y-intercept on the y-axis. Based on drawing squares that fall in a pattern.
Word
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Problems based on balancing mobiles with different shapes. Activity aimed at supporting solving equations.
Powerpoint
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Demos of steps in solving equations by balancing + pages with randomly generated problems of varying difficulty. Includes pix of balances.
Excel
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Presentation featuring rabbits instead of variables. Aims to reinforce idea of balance in solving equations. Includes supporting worksheets.
Powerpoint
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Presentation demonstrating how to solve equations using number machines + turning the number machines into reverse (inverses). Print the slides as handouts as a resource for students.
Powerpoint
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Frame for students solving single-step equations. Students given boxes for each step.
Word
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Frame for students solving multi-step equations. Students given boxes for each step.
Word
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Language Barrier with Orange, 2005, by Mary Henry
MARY HENRY, whose abstract art is a particular delight for lovers of geometry, has died aged 96.
An exhibition of her work can be seen at PDX Contemporary Art, 925 NW Flanders, Portland, OR 97209 until the end of May.

New biggest prime found


The biggest prime number yet has been found with some 12,978,189 digits. It would fill nearly 20 paperbacks if printed out.

It's also the 45th known Mersenne prime, a rare sort of prime written as a power of 2 subtract 1: 243,112,609 − 1.

That's 2 multiplied by itself 43,112,609 times and then subtract 1.

A prime number can only be divided by the number 1 and itself — it has only two factors.

The discovery by the UCLA math department qualified for a $100,000 award for the first prime of more than 10 million digits.

It was discovered using software from the Greater Internet Mersenne Prime Search — GIMPS — that allows anyone with a PC or laptop to help search for the next largest prime.

This new big prime was discovered in August 2008. Just two weeks later another — smaller — 46th Mersenne prime was discovered near Cologne, Germany: 2 37,156,667 − 1. It has a mere 11,185,272 digits.

Mersenne primes were first discovered by the French monk and mathematician Marin Mersenne more than 300 years ago.

Searching for primes was the sort of thing maths people did for fun, they still do. But now super-big primes are vital in internet and banking security as well as writing ultra-secret codes.

Mathematicians know there are an infinite number of primes. They think there an infinite number of Mersenne primes, but the conjecture has yet to be proved.
Copyright David Whitfield, The PiFactory, 2002-2010 + Email: davidwhitfield AT pifactory.net. Designed + produced by David Whitfield