Saturday, November 22, 2014

June 2012: Trig Newtons, Combination Plates, Abstract Art, In-fractions, Math in Hell

(from June 29, 2012)

"Math in Hell"

finding the surface area of a great pyramid  ---  Perhaps, if a mathematician had eternity, he could eventually figure out the exact answer?!?!?!

(from June 24, 2012)


Find more math comics at

(from June 16, 2012)

"Abstract Art: Origins of Cubism"

(from June 8, 2012)

"Combinations vs. Permutations"

Using the numbers 1   2   3   4  only once, how many four digit permutations are there?   How many combinations are there?

The answer and more math questions and puzzles 

(from June 2, 2012)

Friday, November 21, 2014

May 2012: Nursery Rhymes, Ben Franklin, The Graduate, and a statisticians' road trip

(from May 6, 2012)

"Statisticians' Road Trip"

Other uses for mean, median, and mode during a random ride with a Norm

(from May 12, 2012)

"The (Math) Graduate"

An Unknown sequel to the popular film

(from May 19, 2012)

"Ben Franklin's Trig Homework"

Find more trig word problems at

(from May 26, 2012)

"Math Nursery Rhymes"

Thursday, November 20, 2014

April 2012: Baseball, Solar Ellipse, Tale of 2 Cities, Puzzles, and Teaching an old dog

(from April 1, 2012)

"Math and Baseball"

Play Ball!  Check out some math baseball questions...

(from April 8, 2012)

"Focus on the Solar Ellipse"

(from April 15, 2012)

"Math Superheros"

Why is 8,549,176,320 a special number?

Answer and more puzzles are in the mathplane spare parts section

(from April 22, 2012)

"Math Tribute to Charles Dickens"

Each letter represents a different number between 1 and 9.  Translate the letters into numbers!

Hints and solutions are here...

(from April 28, 2012)

"Teaching an old dog new tricks"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

March 2012: 8 to infinity, what's my line?, pi day, riddles, and a factor tree

(from March 4, 2012)

"Eight to Infinity"

Question: How can you add eight 8's to get 1000?      (Use only 8's and addition)

Topic for Discussion: Is Infinity a Number?

Answers are here

(from March 10, 2012)

"Math Game Shows"

"What's My Line?" was a popular US television show during the 1950s and 1960s..
(Surprisingly, there wasn't a famous mathematician among the mystery guests!)

Hints and Solutions are here

(from Pi Day, 2012)

Confession: When I first heard about 'pi day', I did not understand the purpose.  
A friend of mine -- a math teacher -- had gone to the bakery to buy apple and cherry pies to bring to class the next day. ..  Why was she having a party?
She commented, "It's Pi(e) day. We have pie and talk about circles and their characteristics."
The next day at work, I looked at a digital calendar and saw  3.14...  March 14th!  Then, I understood!
Below is a comic about Pi(e) Day!

(from March 17, 2012)

Math Comic #11000 (or, #24)

(From March 24, 2012)

Math Puzzle Video:

Can you draw a circle with a dot in the WITHOUT lifting your pencil off the paper?

Watch this video!

"SPRING BREAK"  (Sitting under a factor tree...)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

February 2012: Cupid, Absolut(e) Value, Prime Rib, and Exponents

(from February 4, 2012)

"The difference between Pi and Three"

(From February 12, 2012)

"Cupid and Symmetry"

Read more about Symmetry

(from February 19, 2012)

Answers are here

"The Prime Rib"

Weekly Webcomic Archives

(from February 27, 2012)

"A Product of Sweden's Math Department"

January 2012: Mathematicians, Poker, Skiing, The New Year, Reference Angles, Shakespeare, and the Super Bowl

(from January 1, 2012)

"Mathematicians Playing Poker"

Probability Question:

This probability question was suggested by Adam B. (a math teacher from Chicago)..

4 cards have been removed from a pack of 52 cards and placed face down in front of you. If you were to choose any 2 of the 4, the chance of getting two red cards is 50%.

What are the chances of picking a black pair?

Hint and solutions at the following link:


Using 2, 0, 1, 2, and any combination of math symbols/operations/functions, write equations that compute to every number between 1 and 25.


"Math and Skiing"

mathplane weekly comic archives 

(from January 15, 2012)

"Reference Angles"

(from January 21, 2012)

"Math Poet" (featuring Bill Shakespeare)

(from January 28, 2012 --- Super Bowl Sunday)

"NFL Math Test"  

Hidden Message Puzzle:

Solutions are at

December 2011 - Vinculum Bar, the devil's calculator, SAS vs SOS, and 2 math puzzles

(from December 4, 2011)

"The Vinculum Bar"

(From December 11, 2011)

"SOS vs. SAS"

SAS is not a distress signal!

(From December 18, 2011)

"Clever Lil' Devil"

Letters and Numbers on a Calculator....

(From December 25, 2011)

Given:  2, 3, 4, 5, +, =    
Using each number and symbol, construct a valid math equation.  (Each number and symbol will be used EXACTLY once!)

Solution is at

(From December 26, 2011)

Word Problem Stuntmen

(From December 27, 2011)

Cutting the Cake: A math riddle/puzzle

Suppose you have a (round) birthday cake. If you made 2 perpendicular cuts through the center, you would have 4 equal slices of cake.

Question: Making exactly 3 cuts, how would you divide a round birthday cake into 8 equal portions?


November 2011: Roman Numerals, Degrees, Noah's Arc, & Statistics Class

(from November 3, 2011)

Roman Numerals:  "Shopping in Ancient Rome"

(from November 9, 2011)

"Aviation Degrees"

(from November 19, 2011)

"Noah's Arc"

(from November 26, 2011)

"Probability of Success in Statistics Class"

Halloween Math Trick (or treat)

(from October 31, 2011)

Happy Halloween!

Worldview of a mathematician

(From October 24, 2011)

Worldview of a mathematician:  It's all good!


 (From October 2011)

Volume: A Math Guy's Business Model

$9 vs $90

(From May 2011)

In previous posts, I mention the pros and cons of a calculator. Obviously, every math student needs a calculator at some point. (Square roots, trig functions, and other complex calculations require a calculator---or a genius--- to get the exact answer... )...  So, which calculator is best?
While working with an algebra student in Highland Park, I realized that my $9 'cheapo' calculator was simpler (and more effective) than her brother's $90 advanced TI calculator. Why?  And, besides cost, is it preferable to use a less sophisticated, cheaper calculator?  (read more below)

Distance and Average Speed

(From February 2011)

Last night, I worked with a Geometry student in Highland Park. After the session, we discussed a few math problems. Here was one:   A car travels at a speed of 30 mph over a certain distance. Then, returns over the same distance at a speed of 20 mph. What is the average speed for the entire trip?  (Hint: It is not 25 mph) 

Continue to see the solution...


(From January 1st, 2011)

I missed it..  Yesterday was January 11, 2011. So, at 11:11 yesterday, we observed the date 1-11-11 and time 11:11 (and 11 seconds)...  I missed it... So, how long must I wait to find another date and time with all the same numbers? This year? Upcoming years?    

Blessing and curse of the calculator

(From November 2010)

While tutoring math students in the North Shore, I've observed the "blessing and curse of the calculator". As they do problems in Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, and other courses, kids often refer to their calculator. There are pros and cons. Why?

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Find math comics, puzzles, practice tests, and other resources at and

(Or, return here from time to time...)