Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Integers Math

In my teaching experience, I have found that many students of different age group, become clueless when they have to answer "Is -10 greater than -16?" This happens due to weak conceptual background in integers.

Teachers may take a little pain and take a big
chart and draw the number line with positive, and negative numbers.
Write the thumbrules on the board:

Number on the left is smaller than number on the right
Number on the right is greater than number on the left.

Allow the children to read and think about it using the chart. Ask some students to take some examples and see if something is assimilated.

Then you proceed with your own examples and fortify the concepts

Write the question on the board: "Is 4 lesser than 10?"
Ask one student to come and locate number 4 and 10 and then ask them "Is 4 on the right or left of 10?"
Assuming the student replies correctly, i.e. 4 is on the left of 10.
Repeat the thumbrule that number on the left are always lesser than number on the right.
Thus, 4 is lesser than 10.

Now let us do another comparison. Is 4 lesser than -10?
Same steps to follow. Thus time, 4 is on the right of -10.
Thumbrule: number on the right is always greater than number on left.
Thus, 4 is greater than -10.

Another comparison. Is -4 lesser than -10.
This time -4 is on the right of -10.
number on the right is always greater than number on left.
Thus, -4 is greater than -10.

Another comparison. Is -9 greater than -7?
This time -9 is on the left of -7.
Thumbrule: number on left is smaller than number on right.
Thus, -9 is lesser than -7

Another comparison. Is 1 smaller than -7?
This time 1 is on the right of -7.
Thumbrule: number on the right is greater than number on left
Thus, 1 is greater than -7.

Try this with your children, students and sometimes, even adults need this assistance and send the feedback!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Deadly Irukandji Jellyfish

Yesterday night there was a documentary on Irukandji Jellyfish (I.J.F.) on Animal Planet. I was amazed when they showed that a sting by an I.J.F. can prove fatal. You just will not be able to believe as it is just 1.2 cm by 2.5 cm body and contractible tentacles, length of which may range from 5 cm to 1 m.
Following pictures will clear how small it looks.

These jellyfish are mostly found in Australia. The jellyfish are named after the Yirrganydji people (a.k.a Irukandji), who are a group of Australian aborigines, whose country stretches along the coastal strip north of Cairns, Queensland.

It is found that these jellyfish sting from the tip of their stingers which is why the venom takes time to take effect. It causes severe pain and the venom starts taking effect after some 15-20 minutes. If timely cure is provided, then the sting is not fatal. But there are reports where few humans have died because of Irukandji sting!

Imagine such a small creature killing a full grown human being!! Wonders of nature or what may I say!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Clash of titans!

It was an awesome match on the Wimbledon grass court. The grass court king versus the clay court ruler!!! I am not to write a long, shot by shot review of the match, that one can find on all the sports websites.

I just wanted to reflect upon the show of grit, determination and the fight till the last. With all the interruptions by the rain and the losing of championship points twice in the 4th set, Nadal was still focussed and fought the 5th set and win the cup. One would expect one of the players to give up out of fatigue if nothing else in a match that lasted 4 hours 50 minutes, the longest ever played in men's singles.

I just could not sleep and kept myself awake to see the final set that finally got over at 2 a.m.
How can one miss such an astounding competition? The fact to note here is the killing spirit in both of them. They both were rivals who equaled each other in all sense of play. It was an Achilles vs Hectar fight (Those who have watched or read about Troy can draw the analogy)!!

I wonder what it would feel like being in that position where one has to prove everyone wrong by winning the title again and another has to win the grass court title for the first time after losing so many times there. Both had lot to prove or disprove. With such pressure, if one can still perform in this mid-blowing manner, then hats off to them!!

A lesson to all, never lose your focus till the end and keep doing what is required to win. There is no short cut to success, sonny!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Millau Bridge - World's highest road bridge

On National Geographic, the construction of Millau Bridge, the highest road bridge in the world, was shown. After seeing this, I was in awe of the engineers, designers, steel company - Eiffel, and all the workers who had equal share in converting this design into reality fighting against all odds of weather, wind, and Physics!! I often wonder, what a sense of success, all those people involved must be having for the rest of their lives. They have tons of stories to narrate! Awesome!

After seeing such feats achieved, I feel that there are many more courses that students can opt for besides computer science. Kids, master your concepts of Physics and Mathematics. With courses like structural engineering, one can take up professions that are mentally challenging. Children and parents, these pictures are not just to admire but also gives us something to think about out of the box!!

Following are some pictures of the modern marvel.
Read more about this by visiting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millau_Viaduct