Category Archives: Maths

Hanging with Dollar Bill…

So part of our Year 6 curriculum in Australia delves into financial mathematics, mostly calculating ‘percentage off’ deals and giving the kids strategies to work these out mentally.

(For example: if a new tablet computer has a retail price of $840, how much will it cost if it’s discounted by 15%? Well, we know that 10% of 840 is 84, and half of this value must be 5%, so that’s 42. Then we can work out that 15% is 84 + 42 which is 126, and 840 minus 126 = our new price of $714. Much easier for kids to do when they can’t rely on a written method or a calculator to work out 0.85 x 840.)

The fun bit comes towards the end of the school year, once we’ve covered all the AC content strands and we can do some extension projects. Because the financial maths stuff always passes the litmus test for students’ interest and enthusiasm (ie: ‘When are we ever gonna use this’), it’s a great starting point for meaningful problem solving and reasoning activities. At the moment, my kids are working on a project that involves them planning the ultimate trip around the world, where within a few basic parameters they track their expenses from a fictitious trip, converting back and forth between Australian dollars and the local currencies of their destinations. The kids love it, and I love that they love it!

Which brings me to this clip I found on the web, which was made by Australia’s Decimal Currency Board in 1965. It’s pure gold. It obviously worked too, as us Aussies can now add amounts of money comfortably, and even calculate percentage off deals without the need to know how many shillings are in a pound!

Mathletics for iPad is here!

After making us wait for a couple of years, 3PLearning have finally unveiled the iPad app for their flagship program, Mathletics. The app looks and feels great and allows students to log in using the same details they would on a notebook or desktop. They’ve also spruced up the Live component, which had grown from five to ten levels. If you reckon you’re ready to have a crack at Pythagorean Triads or Logarithms, proceed straight to Level 10!

They’re still adding content to the online modules, presumably to be included in updates over the next few months, but it’s a great start that will be extremely popular amongst students with iPads. If you like the look of the screen shots below, make sure you head to the App Store and download if for yourself.