Blog posts

Some fun with primes ... and Geogebra 18 January 2018

Prime numbers are fascinating, mysterious and useful. The topic of prime numbers can pop up in a maths lesson at many different ages and ability levels. The announcement two weeks ago of a ‘new’... more

primitive Pythagorean triples 30 December 2017

Over the years, I’ve got the impression that students are as fascinated with Pythagorean triples as they are with prime numbers. Many mathematical papers, books and websites delve into the various... more

Problem: 12 circles circling a circle 27 August 2017

Early in the school year, I like to offer my first-year IB maths students - especially HL students - some challenging problems. I like creating problems of my own that students can solve using mathematics... more

P.o.t.D. - 150 Problems ! 29 July 2017

Over the past six months, I’ve toiled away at composing problems to add to my two Problem of the Day lists – one list of problems for Maths SL and a second list of problems for Maths HL. Last week... more

Challenge Problems (#10) 9 April 2016

To me - and to most people who enjoy mathematics - solving a problem that requires insight, perseverance and creative use of mathematical knowledge and techniques can be a very enjoyable and rewarding... more

Measuring the earth's radius 1000 years ago 10 November 2015

This past weekend I was reading a review of a new history book, The Silk Roads by Oxford historian Peter Frankopan, in which the reviewer states that the Islamic mathematician and scientist al-Biruni... more

Perplexing Pentagons (Exploration Idea #499) 12 September 2015

Recently, a Maths SL student asked for my thoughts about her writing an Exploration (IA) on tilings of the plane (Euclidean tessellations). I must admit that my initial thought was that it would be easy... more

'Too hard' Scottish Higher Maths exam 9 August 2015

Although I live in Scotland, I'm not directly involved with the curriculum for Scottish secondary mathematics (worth mentioning that the education system in Scotland is separate from the rest of the UK... more

Exploration idea #498 30 July 2015

I'm always on the look out for interesting mathematical 'nuggets' that might lead to something suitable for a Maths HL or SL student Exploration (IA task). Recently, I came across the following fact about... more

'Amazing' Calculus 9 May 2015

Even from the narrow view of just considering the syllabus contents for Maths HL & Maths SL, it is clear that the study of calculus is a very important component of both courses - it is the 'largest'... more