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Going beyond the curriculum: SAMF Olympiad Programmes

By Ellie Olivier

There is a famous anecdote about a renowned mathematician, John von Neumann. A friend of Von Neumann gave him a problem to solve: two cyclist A and B, at a distance of 20 miles apart, were approaching each other, each going at a speed of 10 miles per hour. A bee flew back and for...

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2019 NSW: Maths Puzzle 6

6th puzzle by Dr Harry Wiggins (Reverse fun)

Did you know 2178 x 4 = 8712?

Find all ten-digit numbers which becomes 9 times bigger if the order of the digits is reversed.

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2019 NSW: Maths Puzzle 5

5th puzzle by Dr Harry Wiggins (All in the family)

Nxolo has four children with different ages.  The two daughters are Cindy and Letshego and the two sons have names Thabo and Zuma. Once, at a dinner table, the following conversation happened:

Cindy: The sum of my oldest brother and mom is 53.


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2019 NSW: Maths Puzzle 4

4th puzzle by Dr Harry Wiggins (Money, money, money)

Two choices today. Solve either puzzle (a) or (b) and post your interesting comments.

(a) If in South Africa, you only get two types of coins: R19 and R20 coins. What is the least number of coins you need to pay a bill of R2019? 

(b) A billiona...

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2019 NSW: Maths Puzzle 3

3rd puzzle by Dr Harry Wiggins (Complete the grid)

Fill in each space of the grid with one of the numbers 1, 2, . . . , 30, using each number once. For 1 ≤ n ≤ 29, the two spaces containing n and n + 1 must be in either the same row or the same column. Some numbers have been given to you. What will...

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2019 NSW: Maths Puzzle 2

2nd puzzle by Dr Harry Wiggins (Helping Hercules)

Hydra is a serpentine water monster that lives in the lake of Lerna. It is Hercules's task to kill this monster (the second task of his Twelve Labors).  The Hydra possesses 100 heads and can only be killed by cutting of ALL his heads. It is know tha...

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2019 NSW: Maths Puzzle 1

1st puzzle by Dr Harry Wiggins (Avoiding 2019)

Thabo writes down all the positive integers in order but he always avoids writing down the digits 2, 0, 1 and 9.  So Thabo writes down 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 33, 34, 35, etcetera. Thus the 7th number he writes down is 33. What is the 2019th number that Thab...

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Does society need IMO Medalists?

In this Blog, the invited presentation of Siu Man Keung at the IMO Forum during IMO 2016 in Hong Kong, is reproduced here with his permission. We trust readers will find his title and presentation provocative, and the three problems in the APPENDIX stimulating. (The appendix is available for downloa...

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Who Needs Mathematics?

The world we are living in is faced with many problems some of which are pollution, global warming, over-population, starvation, traffic congestion, crime, corruption, terrorism and war. In combating and addressing some of these problems, mathematics as the language of modern science generally, can ...

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A Critique of the School Mathematics Curriculum
Prof. Michael de Villiers
The mathematics curriculum at South African schools provides valuable skills in dealing with numbers and studying geometrical objects using graphs, trigonometry, coordinate geometry and so on. However, for various reasons, teaching and assessment are inclined to treat many fundamental ideas superficially, so much so that non-routine problems are largely downplayed.
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The Work of Teaching

In this video 'The Work of Teaching' by Deborah Ball the challenges facing mathematics teacher are outlined. Not only do good mathematics teachers require solid content knowledge, but they also need a sound pedagogical understanding of the difficulties learners may experience as well as the positive intuitions they may bring to the classroom.

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