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Mac Mouse Magic for Mathematical Memories


A few of us met the Macintosh when it was launched in 1984, and I can still remember a sample being on trial at my first school. Sitting apologetically in the corner of the main staffroom, it was a rather odd looking, all-in-one computer with a strange device attached called a “mouse”. Perhaps that is why it was in the corner, near the wall? In some ways it was a toy and not really worth taking that seriously, especially when we had TRS80’s to program in the Maths Department. The TRS80’s were for serious Maths! In fact, I recall that the Maths teachers avoided the Macintosh, while the Art teachers flocked to it like fireflies to a colored lantern. I do remember seeing rather elegant looking fonts on the Macintosh but not much that was of use for me as a Mathematics teacher. The Macintosh included the official Guided Tour of Macintosh  – which came as a floppy disk and cassette of synced audio instructions. And to teach users what to do with that weird thing called a mouse, a whole section was devoted to “MOUSING AROUND”. Here is one of the tutorials:
macmouseNowadays, of course, Mac Math users have a great little built in tool called “Grapher”. This is found in the Utilities folder and is a powerful tool for 2D and 3D graphing, and it makes the addition of text a breeze as well:
grapherFor an excellent tutorial on using Grapher, click here.

(H3 disclaimer: H3 has no shares in Apple or any other company, and uses a Windows PC reluctantly during work hours, and a MacBook Pro for writing this blog)

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10 x 9 x 8 + (7 + 6) x 5 x 4 x (3 + 2) x 1 = 2020

NCEA Level 2 Algebra Problem. Using the information given, the shaded area = 9, that is:
y(y-8) = 9 –> y.y – 8y – 9 =0
–> (y-9)(y+1) = 0, therefore y = 9 (can’t have a distance of – 1 for the other solution for y)
Using the top and bottom of the rectangle,
x = (y-8)(y+2) = (9-8)(9+2) = 11
but, the left side = (x-4) = 11-4 = 7, but rhs = y+? = 9+?, which is greater than the value of the opp. side??
[I think that the left had side was a mistake and should have read (x+4)?]

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