Maria's Math News, February 2018

Welcome to February!

In this edition:
  1. Math Mammoth Blue Series — overview
  2. The different series of Math Mammoth books (grades 1-8)
  3. The largest prime number to date (grades 5-12)
  4. Discontented with division? (grades 3-6)
  5. A beautiful puzzle (grades 5-12)
  6. Reminder about photos

1. Math Mammoth Blue Series — overview

Here's a NEW video giving you an overview of Math Mammoth Blue Series:

In case you don't know, the Blue Series books, being TOPICAL (by topics), are perfect for filling in gaps, to provide additional instruction & review on a certain math topic, to help classroom teachers with differentiation, or to help a student who is seriously behind to catch up.

There are nearly 50 different books, which cover all math topics for grades 1-7 — from addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to fractions, decimals, percents, geometry, equations, statistics, and so on.

> Learn more

2. The different series of Math Mammoth books

Some people feel overwhelmed by the information and all the books offered at Math Mammoth website... and I can understand that.

So, I recently revised the page concerning which books to choose to explain (hopefully) better the different series of books, and to help people choose what they need. :)

3. The largest prime number to date

Some news from the mathematical world: The GIMPS project has discovered the largest prime to date... it's a Mersenne prime, which means it is of the form 2n − 1 for some whole number n. ☺

In this case, it is 277,232,917 − 1. This number has 23,249,425 digits, and it's nearly one million digits longer than the previous Mersenne prime found. Read about the discovery here:
The Largest Prime Number to Date Has Been Discovered And It's Hurting Our Brains

The work to find these really large primes is done by running specialized software on many regular computers -- in fact, anyone with a modern computer can help in this project!

4. Discontented with division?

Enjoy this column by Steven Strogatz titled Division and Its Discontents.

Division "is the place where many students hit the mathematical wall", he says. Division is mathematically the operation that gives us FRACTIONS... because not everything divides evenly. If you try to divide 9 by 4, you will end up with a fractional part in your final answer.

Strogatz takes us through a few short stories, and in the end shows us some astonishing facts concerning decimals, which make it seem that everything is turning topsy-turvy! Enjoyable piece for adults and your middle and high school students alike. :)

If you'd like more, this piece is actually a part of a series of columns on the Elements of Math.

5. A beautiful puzzle

I agree, this is a beautiful math puzzle - looks pretty and is quite solvable by upper elementary students and beyond.

The puzzle on the blackboard is:

102 + 112 + 122 + 132 + 142

The painting is by Bogdonay-Belsky, depicting Russian school boys thinking about this mental math exercise. Denise also gives you a hint for solving the squares in the puzzle.

6. A reminder

I still have a need of photos showing children working on Math Mammoth materials/end-of-year test, either showing happy faces or confused/puzzled/struggling. You can email me for details if you cannot find my earlier email on this. There's a raffle too!

Thanks for reading! :)

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Till next time,
Maria Miller
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