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#1 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » Fraction Subtraction » 2011-06-14 09:23:26

As a teacher I have mixed view on this method.

I only use it as a last resort for these reasons:
a) Although your pupils will be able to get the correct answer they will not understand what they have done.
b) As you don't always use the lowest common multiple it is not always the most efficient method.
c) When subtracting the pupils have to remember which numerator to subtract from the other, they always get this wrong if the answer happens to be negative!

Having said this, when you have tried and tried to teach with understanding and their exam is approaching fast, I must admit to have used this as a quick win!

#2 Jokes » Math one-liners » 2011-06-14 09:11:43

Replies: 2

I'm trying to gather as many one - liner maths jokes together as I can so I thought I'd share the ones I have collected so far...apologies to the javascript layout!

    joke[0]="Why was 6 afraid of 7?";
    joke[1]="What do you call a boiling kettle on top of a mountain?";
    joke[2]="There a 10 types of people.";
    joke[3]="BREAKING NEWS!";
    joke[4]="Have you heard the joke about the statistician?";
    joke[5]="What happens when you take the circumference of your Halloween lantern and divide it by its diameter?";
    joke[6]="What do mermaid mathematicians wear?";
    joke[7]="Why did the chicken cross the Mobius strip?";
    joke[8]="There were 99 people on a boat when it capsized. How many were left on the boat?";
    joke[9]="What does a constipated mathematician do?";
    joke[10]="What did the zero say to the eight?";
    joke[11]="Pi says: 'Get real.'";
    joke[12]="Why was the maths book sad?";
    joke[13]="An infinite crowd of mathematicians enter a pub. The first one orders a pint, the second one a half pint, the third one a quarter pint and so on.";
    joke[14]="Why don't you find many mathematicians on the beach?";
    joke[15]="Why did the pupil eat her homework?";
    joke[16]="What does a clock do when it's hungry?";
    joke[17]="Why is two the oddest prime?";
    joke[18]="Teacher: 'Along the corridor up the stairs'";
    joke[19]="A statistician had his head in an oven and his feet in the freezer.";
    joke[20]="What's the king of the pencil case?";
    joke[21]="What's a sheeps favourite graph?";
    joke[22]="What did the obtuse angle say to the smaller angle?";
    joke[23]="What T.V. programme do statisticians watch?"
    joke[24]="Why was the prism angry?";
    joke[25]="How much is the cheapest carpet at the metric store?";
    joke[26]="How do geometry teachers travel?";
    joke[27]="What is a mathematians favourite food?";
    joke[28]="What do you call a leg that is perpendicular to a foot?";
    joke[29]="What did one maths book say to the other?";
    joke[30]="What state has the most maths teachers?";
    joke[31]="Did you hear the joke about the infinite line?";
    joke[32]="Having problems with your maths?";
    joke[33]="Why did the two vectors start an internet-based company?";
    joke[34]="Why did the integer get mad at his wife?";
    joke[35]="Shocking statistic...";
    joke[36]="Heard about the mathematical plant?";
    joke[37]="F(x)= 2X+3 walks into a bar and orders a round of drinks and asks for some sanwiches.";
    joke[38]="Who invented King Arthur's round table?";
    joke[39]="How do you tell that you are in the hands of the Mathematical Mafia?";
    joke[40]="How many numerical analysts does it take to change a lightbulb?";
    joke[41]="What's the difference between Robbie Williams and a maths teacher?";
    joke[42]="Where are mathematicians buried?";
    joke[43]="Decimals have a point.";
    joke[44]="Why don't they serve beer at mathematicians' parties?";
    joke[45]="I hate puns about maths."

And now all the punch lines...

    punch[0]="Because 7, 8, 9!";
    punch[1]="A high-pot-in-use!";
    punch[2]="Those that understand binary and those that don't.";
    punch[3]="A new prime number has been discovered three times larger than the previous record.";
    punch[4]="Answer, 'Probably.'"
    punch[5]="You get Pumpkin Pie.";
    punch[7]="To get to the same side.";
    punch[9]="Work it out with a pencil.";
    punch[10]="Nice belt.";
    punch[11]="i replies: 'Lets be rational about this.'";
    punch[12]="Because it had too many problems.";
    punch[13]="The bar man says 'I get ya' and pours two pints.";
    punch[14]="Because they can get a tan with just a sine and cosine.";
    punch[15]="Because the teacher said it was a piece of cake.";
    punch[16]="It goes back four seconds.";
    punch[17]="It's the only one that's even!";
    punch[18]="Pupil: 'Sir, I live in a bungalow'";
    punch[19]="On average he felt fine.";
    punch[20]="The ruler.";
    punch[21]="A baaaa chart.";
    punch[22]="Your a cute angle.";
    punch[23]="Correlation street.";
    punch[24]="It had a cross-section.";
    punch[25]="One cent a metre.";
    punch[26]="In a plane.";
    punch[28]="A right ankle.";
    punch[29]="Man I have a lot of problems.";
    punch[31]="It doesn't have a point.";
    punch[32]="Call 1-800-[(10x)(13i)^2]-[sin(xy)/2.362x].";
    punch[33]="They thought they had a good dot product.";
    punch[34]="Because she was being irrational.";
    punch[35]="50% of schools are below average.";
    punch[36]="It's got square roots.";
    punch[37]="The barman replies sorry we don't cater for functions.";
    punch[38]="Sir Cumference.";
    punch[39]="They make you an offer that you can't understand.";
    punch[40]="0.99987 after four iterations.";
    punch[41]="Your maths teacher is loving Angles instead.";
    punch[42]="The Symmetry.";
    punch[43]="Calculus has it's limits.";
    punch[44]="Because it's not safe to drink and derive.";
    punch[45]="They're the first sine of madness."

Any more for any more?

#3 Re: Puzzles and Games » What time is it? » 2011-05-24 09:46:54

Plutoman, click on the 132 box to get the explanation.  I think I understand it!

#4 Re: Puzzles and Games » What time is it? » 2011-05-21 10:08:43

Ah, I knew I was missing something!

I fear the answer is beyond my brain power but will have a think about it. I don't think 11:08pm on a Saturday night is the best time for my brain to be answering maths problems!

Is that an ambiguous time by the way? wink

#5 Introductions » Hello everyone » 2011-05-21 10:03:49

Replies: 5

Hi everyone,

Although I've been posting here for a while I thought I'd introduce myself.
I'm a secondary maths teacher in England and also head of department. I have used this site with my pupils ever since I began teaching around 6-7 years ago and it's been a fantastic resource for my pupils.

I did a degree in maths at Leeds university but it's been so long since I did the higher level stuff I'm ashamed by how much I have forgotten!  My specialty is answering GCSE maths questions.

Although I'm not the best, I do enjoy a game of chess and would love to have a game with anyone on this forum.  I play at gameknot and my username is studymaths if you fancy challenging me to a game!

All the best,


#6 Re: Jokes » Shocking statistic.. » 2011-05-21 09:06:00

I am impressed my your intelligence from reading posts on this forum.  Did you really never attend school?!

I told my class about the headline to see if they understood the error the news team had made.  They got it eventually.
I then explained to them that the average person on the planet has less than two legs wink


#7 Re: Puzzles and Games » What time is it? » 2011-05-21 08:29:19

If the hands are indistinguishable isn't the time is always ambiguous?

Except when they line up exactly which will be 11 times (once per hour) if 12 o'clock doesn't count.

So my answer is 3589 out of a possible 3600 seconds are ambiguous.

I'm bound to be missing something, I'm never any good at puzzles!

#8 Jokes » Shocking statistic.. » 2011-05-20 22:57:49

Replies: 23

"50% of universities are below average according to a recent survey."

This wasn't meant to be a joke, it was actually reported on the news!

#9 Maths Teaching Resources » Random worksheets » 2011-05-15 09:55:37

Replies: 2


My Y'11s are 3 weeks away from their GCSE exam (!) so thought I'd share a couple of worksheets I made to help them practise some of the topics they've been struggling with.

Mixed negatives
Mean from grouped frequency
Fractions of amounts

The worksheets are all randomly generated and have a locking function to stop cheating, useful if you take a class to a computer suite.

I'm sure I'm a lot more worried about their exams than they are sometimes.
The finish line is in sight now, then I'll have plenty of time to program some more maths games hopefully!


#10 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-14 10:40:36

I know, I'm his maths teacher and can't even get near that!

My brain seems to go to mush once I get past 50.

#11 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-14 04:30:27

Hi phrontister,

The problem was will IE (as usual).  I've changed it so instead of a popup there is now a text field to enter your initials before you submit.  I had the same problem when I went to school today, my pupils were disappointed they couldn't enter their initials.  Especially the boy who got 430 on beat the clock before my very eyes!

That will take some beating.

Thanks for the feedback,

#12 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-13 11:32:49

I'm glad you found them fun, beat the clock is the favourite with my pupils.

I decided to limit the the highscore names to 3 letters.  There are too many bad words with 4 letters I wouldn't want people to see.

Hopefully I can learn enough PHP to write some kind of filter to get round this problem, but until then it's 3 letters only!

#13 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-13 06:21:40

Thanks, I've reset the scores now.

I've spent the day learning more PHP and hopefully made a somewhat cheat proof highscore system for my most popular game beat the clock (times table practise) and my new
maths anagrams game.

It shouldn't be too much trouble to add a high score to the prime game now I'm getting the hang of things.

Thank you loads for all the help!

#14 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-13 01:53:38

I just realised my huge error, the score is meant to reset to zero once the timer runs out!  No wonder you scored so much!

It's corrected now hopefully.
Once anymore bugs are reported and I've added maybe 100+ extra words i'll have to reset your fabulous high score i'm afraid!

Thanks again.

#15 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-13 01:41:52

Wow 143!

Is it too easy?  I only have about 50 words at the moment but I can easy add more to up the difficulty level.  Maybe only 10 seconds per word?  How did the negative time come about?  I'm not sure why it's doing that.

Thanks for the feedback.

P.S. all spellings the English versions, I should have mentioned that!

#16 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-13 00:56:16

Ok, I've spent (some might say wasted? wink) the weekend learning the basics of PHP and MySQL and made a very simple game with an even simpler high score table.

It's a maths anagram game and you can try it here: maths anagrams

I would be extremely grateful if you would try it out and let me know if you spot any bugs.

I hope to try and make it more sophisticated/cheat proof in the future and then add it to my other games but it is a step in the right direction!

#17 Re: Puzzles and Games » Find the missing number » 2011-03-12 02:05:13

Thanks, I can stop tearing my hair out now.  Maybe I'd have seen it if i'd bothered to write down the differences rather than working them out in my head.

#18 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-12 02:00:12

Living in Yorkshire I often have debates on the pronunciation of the word 'scone'.  I'm in the 'bone' camp while others say it like 'gone'.

P.S. Although the topic seems to have digressed a little, may I say L49 is amazing,  I would be gutted about missing L50 though!

Thoughts to those in Japan at the moment.

#19 Puzzles and Games » Find the missing number » 2011-03-12 01:50:27

Replies: 11

So I was clearing out my classroom yesterday and came across a cryptic number puzzle.  Unfortunately I couldn't find the solution and it's been so long I can't remember it.  Even google couldn't help me!

The puzzle is:

1, 13, 16, 61, ? , 217

Find the missing number.

Can anyone help, it's driving me mad!

#21 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-09 05:50:34


Level 39 is a fantastic score.  Maybe L50 is not so impossible after all?

Bobby, the 10 + level * level system I use was the easiest way I could think of to make the game progressively more difficult.  I did add a check in the program to make sure at least 1 prime is generated though!

On the topic of high scores, does anyone know the easiest way of actually recording these to my website?  I love the idea of a high score table.  Unfortunately I only know javascript but would be willing to learn whatever I need!

#22 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-08 06:08:44

That would be impressive. Each at the start of a level each tile is assigned a number between 1 and (10+level*level).  So at level 50 all the primes up to 2510 would have to be memorised!

I think I'd have to make the tiles wider as well wink

#23 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-08 05:48:26

Hi Bobby, yeah I use the games at mathopolis with my pupils as well as the games as, boxup is one of my personal favourites.
From a pupil point of view I find that any game which has a timed element are the most popular with kids.

Thanks to everyone who tested the prime game as a result of the feedback I've changed the rules slightly.  You now get 20 seconds per level and only a 3 second penalty for an 'incorrect prime'.

Level 25 should be achievable now wink

#24 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-07 09:40:39

Indeed, in fact I did try it with more than two pupils at the board but then the adage "too many cooks spoil the broth" applies!

#25 Re: Maths Teaching Resources » A few maths games I have made to help my pupils » 2011-03-07 09:25:49


They get to about level 4 or 5 then run out of time.  This for me shows understanding of primes, even if they can't identify the larger ones by memory.

What is fun though is using an interactive whiteboard and then get pairs of pupils up to the front to work as a team.  With double the hands they finish levels in half the time smile  Although this can cause arguments between them if one of them clicks a non prime number!  They have reached level 10 doing it this way.

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