# Phi, the number that helps us make beautiful art

The Golden Ratio (phi) There are several well known “irrational numbers”, which are numbers that cannot be expressed as a ratio between two numbers and it cannot be written as a simple fraction because there is not a finite number of numbers when written as a decimal.  When irrational numbers are written as decimals the decimal would go on forever without repeating.  An irrational number you are probably very familiar with is pi or Π which is equal to 3.14159265359 …. it is the irrational number that helps us understand everything that is circular.   Another irrational number you may have…

# The origin of the Fibonacci Sequence

The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers where a number is found by adding the two previous numbers in the series.  Starting with 0 and 1, the sequence is … Term X0 X1 X2 X3 X4 X5 X6 X7 X8 X9 Value 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 The 2 is found by adding the two numbers before it ( 1+ 1) The 3 is also found by adding the two numbers before it (2 + 1) The 5 is found by adding the two numbers before it (3 + 2)  etc … If we…

# Prime number athletes … Reggie Miller #31

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars” – Khalil Gibran The biggest three point shooting star in the 90’s was Reggie Miller the skinny frail looking shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers.  He was like of the Steph Curry of the 90’s, a baby faced sharp shooter.  Much like Curry, Miller did not look tough, no Lebron James Marvel Super hero physique or Mike Tyson like menacing scowl. But he was tough.  He was a handful to deal with even for perhaps the greatest player the world has ever seen (Michael Jordan) and always performed…

# How kids with dyscalculia may struggle socially

Dyscalculia makes life difficult.  Having dyscalculia usually makes math class a humiliating experience, it also makes some common everyday skills difficult as well. Knowing left from right, reading a clock, using standard instruments of measurement such as a ruler or measuring cup, courting money and making change are a few examples.   But perhaps the most painful problem dyscalculia gives us is the social challenges it creates.   We can always find a way to avoid numbers, in fact we spend most of our time NOT working with numbers. Math class only lasts about an hour a day.  But we are always social. We can never avoid being social no…

Here’s a simple question for you to answer, which number is larger 55 or 23? The answer is of course 55, most of us can answer this question in less than 0.5 seconds.  But there are a few who will take as long as 3 seconds.  These people may have something called dyscalculia.  Dyscalculia (also known as number blindness) is a condition in which a person’s number sense is defective.  People diagnosed with dyscalculia usually have problems correlating they symbol for a number (for example 7) with the number of objects the symbol represents.  Counting is also difficult for them.  This of course…

# Why estimating should be an important part of every math class

“How long does it take you to drive to work” is a very common question asked, have you ever noticed that the answers we get to this question is almost always a range and never a precise single number?  As in “About 15 – 20 minutes” as opposed to “18 minutes”. When it comes to answering questions dealing with quantity (like how long it takes to drive to work) we seem to be incapable of giving a precise single number as answer.  When asked how “How many people showed up to the Christmas party?” we answer “about 100, 150”.  When…

# Why the Metric system is not always superior to the Imperial system

As a Canadian I love to joke about how much more sense our measurement system (the metric system) is than the American system (the imperial system).  Its always nice to get a few jabs in on our neighbors to the south.   Helps me feel better about my country when I can put another country down just a little bit. The basis for believing that the metric system is superior to the imperial system is that is less confusing than the imperial system.  The metric system measures things using units such as meters (for length) or grams (for weight) and adds prefixes such as kilo,…

# Prime Number athletes… Mike Palmateer # 29

Like everybody else who grew up in Toronto in the 80’s and 90’s  I loved watching the Leafs, sure they were horrible for most of the 80’s and only got better in the early 90’s.  But they were our team for better or worse. I remember looking forward to “Hockey Night in Canada” every Saturday night to watch my Leafs.  I always had hope they would win, but more often than not, they lost. It did not matter how bad they were I could cheer for no other team. My first favorite Toronto Maple Leafs was a diminutive acrobatic goaltender named Mike Palmateer who wore…

# If The World Were 100 people …

12 would speak Chinese 6 would speak Spanish 5 would speak English 4 would speak Hindi 3 would speak Arabic 3 would speak Bengali 3 would speak Portuguese 2 would speak Russian 2 would speak Japanese 60 would speak other languages Surprising? Source: http://www.100people.org/statistics_100stats.php?section=statistics

# The Man Who Hated Math

Former British Prime Minister Willian Gladstone hated math.  He hated math so much that when he was in university he wrote a letter to his father asking to be transferred to a University that did not offer any classes in math.  As a member of Parliament Gladstone’s father could have easily arranged for a transfer to a “no math” university for his son, but instead he replied “You say that you dislike math, but there is a supreme pleasure to be found in putting all your efforts into a subject that you dislike.  You may be faced with a time…