This is Maths Week!

pi-mathematical-constant-symbol_318-58870All this week there will be activities and events to encourage people to look positively at all things mathematical.

You can find lots of mathematical problems to solve on the blog: Maths Week Scotland 2019  But don’t look at it before you have solved this one.

Problem 1: Broken Calculator

maths week 2019 Calculator imageDoing calculations on an old and broken basic calculator is very tricky. The problem with this calculator is that it has only five (white) buttons still working. They are the 3 and the 9, the buttons for adding and dividing and the equals button. (The red buttons don’t work at all.)

Danny has done a calculation that led to the answer 40. We know that he made no more than eight button presses. Find three sequences of buttons that he could have pressed.

The website Maths Week Scotland has information about the many events that are taking place.

Many of the events have been funded by the Small Grants Fund totalling £70,000.

Katie Oldfield, Maths Week Scotland Coordinator at National Museums Scotland, said:

“We all use maths in our everyday lives whether we realise it or not. Activities taking place throughout Maths Week give children and adults the chance to experience the fun and creative side of maths and improve their maths skills.

“From codebreaking and enigma machines, discovering the maths behind the creation of Edinburgh Castle or exploring the universe through maths – there really is something for everyone.”

And for people who would like more support with numeracy and maths The Big Plus can put you in touch with a local tutor. This is a free service from Skills Development to help you with reading, writing or numbers. Call 0800 918 800 or visit The Big Plus




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  1. In my day you had to be able to solve the problem without the use of any tabular, mechanical or electronic. In fact, I was in 5th year before we were allowed to take ‘fiddle-stick’ (slide-rules) into Higher Maths. My cousin a Master Mariner used to insist that on at least one day a week, Apprentice Deck Officers and junior Deck Officers had to ‘shoot’ the mid-day sun and then plot the ship’s position using tables and pencil and paper, only once they had a position could they check it against the GPS.

    This is just one example where knowledge of Maths, Spherical Trigonometry are an absolute essential.

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