How to get an A in Junior Cert Science: Part 1 – the maths bits

Many students are turned off Physics because of the maths involved, yet you only need to be able to do ordinary level maths in order to answer all questions which will appear on the Junior Cert paper.

Some of these are in the new log-tables, but others are not so you should really try to remember all of them because it not always easy to identify the formula you need from the list in the log-tables. Practice looking for them in pages 51 – 56.

To encourage students not to give up on these questions I have put together a document which includes all the equations on the Junior Cert Science syllabus. There are (only) ten of them and by-in-large they are very straightforward. The document includes every maths question that was ever asked on a Higher Level or Ordinary Level paper from when the syllabus was first examined in 2006 up until 2010. It also contains solutions to all these questions.

If you’re looking for a top grade in June you really should ensure that you’re familiar with all of these.

You can download this document here.

There’s also a section on Units (we tend to be a little fanatical about these in Physics) and finally a list of practice questions.

If you’re using this as a teacher it should make a nice revision class or two – good luck with it!


Benoit Mandlebrot and The Colours of Infinity

The Colours of Infinity is a wonderful title for any documentary so it is only right and proper that  the program itself lives up to the title.

I show parts of  it to Transition Years in an attempt to stimulate a sense of wonder for Mathematics. It by no means manages to undo the damage caused by their maths education up to this point, but it may just mitigate it somewhat. I have shown excerpts of it in the last couple of days to most of my students in all years, not because it’s Maths Week (or was that the week before?) but because the central character, a man by the name of Benoit Mandlebrot, died last Thursday. In each class the assigned homework was merely to go onto YouTube and watch as much of the rest of it as they could get away with.

I won’t try to explain what it’s about; what would be the point? By this stage you are either a fan of my recommendations or you’ve given up reading them. Either is cool. But if there’s only one extra-curricular maths program you ever watch in your life, make it this one.

Come to think of it, it should be mandatory for all Art students to watch it also; just one more example of the cross-over so beloved of our school inspectors.
Finally, if you have an iphone why not download some of the incredible images associated with fractals? Just do a search for ‘fractals’ in the app store.
In fact when entering the title into YouTube, the images alone from the page it brought up should be enough to entice you in.