Make a coin sorter


Hold one end of the cardboard up and roll a coin down the groove. Which hole does it fall through?

Safety: This activity uses a sharp scalpel. Younger mathematicians should ask an adult to help.

You will need

  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Scalpel
  • Cutting mat
  • Sharp pencil or pen
  • Rubber bands
  • $2, $1 and 20c coins

What to do

  1. Cut a piece of corrugated cardboard about 25 cm long and 10 cm wide. Make sure the corrugations are running along the length of your rectangle.
  2. Fold the long side of the cardboard, about 2 cm from edge. Then make another fold about half a centimetre further in from that fold.
  3. Put rubber bands around the cardboard to hold the folds. If you look at the cardboard from the side, it will be in a j shape that creates a groove for the coins to sit in. Put some coins in the folded cardboard and tilt it. The coins should roll freely along the groove.

The value of money

pennyIt’s clear that a one dollar coin is worth two 50 cent coins. Yet here in Australia, 50 cent coins are bigger, heavier, and made of similar metals. So why is the dollar coin worth more?

The short answer is that government tells us. In Australia, there are many laws about our money. One important law in this country states that Australian money must be accepted as a method of payment. These laws make sure that a one dollar coin is worth one dollar. But this isn’t the only way that money can be valued.

News of Croatia joining EU received with mixed reactions

flagsIt was a big ceremony on Sunday (30.06.2013) when Croatia officially joined the EU. The economic bloc now boasts of 28 member states. About 170 dignitaries were present to mark this historic moment. Among them were 15 head of states and 13 prime ministers. All these dignitaries congregated in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city. Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy, the European Commission and European Council president respectively, graced the occasion and made their speeches.

Habitable Zone Conditions – Tidal Effects Modify Previous Concept

planetNothing is more compelling than the unknown. It propels you to go further beyond your limits and defy expectations. Scientists have always been in a continuous search of extraterrestrial life forms of planets that fall within the habitable zone. Extra solar planets – or what is coined as exoplanets were discovered in 1995 which are found to be just outside our solar system. These planets are found to be within range of the sun in which the temperature conditions of the planets’ surface can accommodate liquid water. Water is said to be the main core of life. It is a basic necessity that which sustains life in myriad of forms – which is in fact a tell-tale sign that there might be life present in these planets and it is more so, conducive for life to prosper in such conditions. Researchers are able to verify a planet’s temperature by checking its distance to the central star as well as the planet’s atmospheric components. But now, the recent study of Heller and colleagues on the tidal waves in these earth-like planets which are triggered by low-mass stars will change the conventional concept of what should be considered as a habitable zone.

Try this:The four colour problem

fourcolour3You will need

  • At least five different coloured pencils or textas
  • A copy of a map of Europe [PDF, 133 kB]
  • Paper

The four colour problem

The four colour problem is famous in mathematics. You are given a map divided up into different regions and need to colour it in, following some rules:

  • Every region needs to be coloured in a single colour.
  • Two regions that share an edge must be coloured different colours. Two regions that only meet at a corner can be coloured the same colour.
  • You must use as few colours as possible.

The passing of a mathematical maverick

Kenneth AppelOn 19 April 2013, a pioneer of mathematics passed away. Kenneth Appel’s most famous work involved a new and controversial way of doing mathematics – using a computer.

Mathematics is based on proofs. A proof is a train of thought showing something is definitely true – or definitely false. When you read a proof and understand it, you’ll know the author’s reasoning, and see why they are correct.

The historic life of Marco De Dominis

Marco De DominisMarco Antonio de Dominis was born in 1566 on the island of Rab, Croatia. Prior to attending the Society of Jesus, he enrolled in various education institutions such as university of Padua and the Illyrian college. De Dominis made huge strides in his education rising above the fray to become a leading mathematician. He was simply iconic in everything he ventured in especially in mathematics, theology and science.

Even though his education at Loreto was marked with controversies because of his involvement with the Jesuits, De Dominis overcame his challenges to become a mathematics teacher at Padua and Brescia. His continuous commitment also saw him being employed as a professor of mathematics and rhetoric at Padua and Brescia respectively.

Try this Make an infographic

infographic4You will need

  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Pen or pencil
  • Colouring in pencils or textas

Collecting data

  1. Write down the names of everyone who lives in your home. Write down every person’s age next to their name.
  2. Count the number of bedrooms in your home and write this down.
  3. Count the number of cars usually parked at your home and write this down as well.
  4. Write down what type of building your home is. It could be a separate house, a semi-detached or townhouse that shares walls with another house. Or, it could be an apartment, a caravan, or a houseboat.
  5. Write down all the languages that people use in your home.

Amazing data representation

dataLots of data can be daunting – how do we know quickly and easily what it all means? Technology is helping us to explore the vast quantities of information we now collect.

There are many technologies to choose from – from the humble graphic calculator or spreadsheet, all the way to inputting data into open source software followed by the use of a 3D modelling suite to create designs. These exciting tools can help you unpack data, knowledge and statistics because of their power and accessibility.

Once statistics have been collected and analysed, a decision must be made on the best way to communicate key messages contained within the data. Often, one or two important pieces of information need to be emphasised. One way to achieve this is through a static visualisation, such as a graph or chart.

Zagreb School to represent Croatia at International Science Competition in Turkey

scienceA school from Zagreb will be representing Croatia at the international science competition to be held in Turkey. The 22nd edition of the International Research Projects Competition, which is one of the best scientific high school contests in the world, is organised by MEF Educational Institution. The aim of the competition is to attract young science talent and encourage them to be future scientists. The competition gives the students an opportunity to showcase their scientific temperament and ideas by way of working models and projects. The projects may be prepared individually by a student or may be prepared as a group consisting of a maximum of two students and a teacher. The competition is open to all high school students in Turkey and abroad. The competition which will be held from the 7th of May to the 10th of May 2013, will host 120 students from Turkey and another 45 students from international high schools from across the globe.

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