## Making Your Own Sense

Reflections on maths, learning, and the Maths Learning Centre.

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## When the data doesn’t work

This week I’ve been running the tutorials for the core first year Health Sciences course. The tutorial is a very light intro into how data is part of communication of health science research, and one of the activities involves the students arranging a set of data cards to investigate relationships between variables. Something happened today that I hadn’t observed before and I need to talk about it.

## The Seven Sticks and what mathematics is

This week I provided games and puzzles at a welcome lunch for new students in the Mathematical Sciences degree programs. I had big logic puzzles and maths toys and also a list of some of my eight most favourite puzzles on tables with paper tablecloths to write on.

## Zooming in to see the slope

A lot of people introduce the derivative at a point as the slope of the tangent at that point, which to me is quite confusing. It seems to me that the reason we want the derivative is that it is a measure of the slope of our actual function at that point, not the slope of a completely different thing. To me, the thing is that the function itself is pretty much straight if we are close enough to it, so when we're looking really close, saying it has a slope at this point is a meaningful thing to say.

## The Number Dress-Up Party

I created the Number Dress-Up Party puzzle way back in 2017 and every so often I stumble across it again when searching Twitter for other stuff. When I stumbled across it today, I decided it was time to write it up in a blog post.

## Who is worthy to ask stupid and smart questions?

This post was going to be part of the **Virtual Conference of Mathematical Flavours**, which you can see all the keynote speakers and presentations here: https://samjshah.com/mathematical-flavors-convention-center/. The prompt for all the blog posts that are part of this conference is this: "**How**** does your class move the needle on what your kids think about the ***doing*** of math, or what ***counts*** as math, or what math ***feels*** like, or ***who*** can do math?" **In the end, it didn't end up being there, because my computer started dying painfully at the critical time, but I still want to highlight the Virtual Conference anyway because it was a great idea.

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## Numbers and Letters

Since 2013, the MLC and Writing Centre have been doing a game called Letters and Numbers at Orientation Weeks and Open Days to create interaction with people. I tweeted a photo of one of our sessions during Open Day yesterday and it has attracted a lot of attention, so I thought I might record some details of the game for people to read if they're interested.

## Ten years

On the 23rd of July 2008, I started my first day as coordinator of the Maths Learning Centre at the University of Adelaide. Today is the 23rd of July 2018 – the ten year anniversary of that first day. (Well, it was the 23rd of July when I *started* writing this post!)

## TMC17 Reflections a year later

A year ago, I went to Twitter Math Camp (TMC) and it was a wonderful experience. TMC is a great conference full of all sorts of opportunities for maths teachers to learn from each other in many ways.

## Fairy Bread

Fairy bread, in case you don't know, is an Australian children's party food.

## The Human Galton Board

Last week we were booked in to do Human Markov Chains with several groups of school students, but it turned out there would be a lot fewer of them than we expected, and I didn't think Human Markov Chains would work very well with under 20 students. I still dearly wanted to do a moving maths activity, and I still wanted it to be about probability, but I wasn't sure what to do. Then, on the morning of the day the students were coming, I had an inspiration and quickly knocked together the Human Galton Board.