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Can you solve the maths question for Singapore schoolkids that went viral?


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The link will show you it is a Scottish Higher Maths paper, which many people complained was too hard.

 

It is an interesting issue to debate how much of a population needs to understand calculus.

 

In the last month I made a significant engineering error due to doing it wrong - I'm very glad we have a two pairs of eyes rule on calculations.

 

If you want to analyse anything remotely complicated - involving volumes, areas, centroids, rates of change etc - calculus is necessary.

 

It's an A level maths type question, so I'm not sure how many people on MF will be able to solve it, but this level is basically necessary for any job which involves modelling the world beyond a basic level.

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Sorry chinahand. Had visitors, will ring you back shortly.

Looks to me like chinahands kitchen after he finished tiling it

Can you solve the maths question for Singapore schoolkids that went viral?

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The problem with school maths, in my increasing experience of coaching kids through GCSE and A levels is that schools don't teach kids how to think mathematically and write 'good' maths. Instead they're given a bag of tricks which gives them the ability to solve a few standard calculations.

 

Calculus in school is presented initially as a formula to differentiate x^n, and in the next chapter how to integrate the same. I'd start with a fundamental definition of a derivative as a gradient, an integral as an area, and then connect the two with the fundamental theorem of calculus. I'm a firm believer that to progress in maths you need a sound grasp of the fundamentals, rather than a knowledge of increasingly complicated rules that help solve increasingly complicated problems. I'm not surprised most adults have forgotten most of the maths they learned at school, as they never understood the principles in the first place.

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WTF - this is a school maths question. It is one that probably 90% of the population wouldn't be able to solve.

 

It is massively simplistic, ignoring multiple issues that in the real world would complicate it even more.

 

Add in all those things and it becomes a far far more difficult problem.

 

When teaching people you start with simple models and concepts and build up - as Wrighty says trying to get them to understand the principles involved.

 

The problem isn't realistic, but it does enable pupils to demonstrate the principles involved in understanding an optimization algorithm.

 

It is meant to be solved in 20minutes in an exam. Later in life it is perfectly possible for people who have these skills to spend years building optimization models involving thousands of differential equations etc. These accurately model all sorts of things - GPS, flight control systems, cutting speeds and wear, turbine performance.

 

The people doing it wouldn't be able to do that without the baby-steps of solving the simple examples when they were 18.

 

Let's not run before we can walk, hey.

 

Can you solve the question?

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The link will show you it is a Scottish Higher Maths paper, which many people complained was too hard.

 

It is an interesting issue to debate how much of a population needs to understand calculus.

 

In the last month I made a significant engineering error due to doing it wrong - I'm very glad we have a two pairs of eyes rule on calculations.

 

If you want to analyse anything remotely complicated - involving volumes, areas, centroids, rates of change etc - calculus is necessary.

 

It's an A level maths type question, so I'm not sure how many people on MF will be able to solve it, but this level is basically necessary for any job which involves modelling the world beyond a basic level.

Not that you would be condescending in any way.thumbsup.gif

Why post such a comment ?

I would guess that like me, many on here are just ordinary folk who would not give two f**** about such things.

Are you on the correct forum for your intellect?

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Mice weigh the same as Whales.

 

The weight of a mouse = m

 

The weight of a whale = w

 

The sum of the weights of a mouse and a whale = 2s - humour me with the 2 - it makes the maths easier.

 

so m + w = 2s

 

Rearranging we get

 

1) w = 2s - m

2) w - 2s = - m

 

Multiply 1) by 2)

 

w2 - 2sw = m2 - 2ms

 

Add s2 to either side of the equation

 

w2 - 2sw + s2 = m2 -2ms + s2

 

Collect terms and simplify:

 

(w - s)2 = (m - s)2

 

Take square roots of both sides:

 

w - s = m - s

 

Add s to both sides

 

w = m

 

All whales weigh the same as mice

 

QED

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These things usually have a division by zero in them somewhere. This one however does not. Instead you need to consider functions and their inverses, and the relevant domains and co-domains. Good solid pure maths.

 

(alternatively just realise that if a squared equals b squared, a does not necessarily equal b)

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Exactly - with these things it can often be a good idea to bring them back to the real world from the esoteric-ism of pure maths.

 

If 2s is the total weight of a mouse and a whale, then what is s?

 

Answering that should help to explain what is going on and hence the error.

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