Personal Stories

Stories about how you have used Maple, MapleSim and Math in your life or work.

If you do as much math as I do, you’ll likely agree that it’s important to take breaks from intensive work.  However, sometimes one wants to keep one’s mind stimulated with math.  This makes mathematical puzzles and games a perfect respite.  Alternatively, even if you don’t do as much math professionally, math puzzles are a fun and easily-accessible way to keep your mind sharp.  Games like sudoku and Rubik’s cubes are incredibly popular for good reason.

My personal favourite math puzzle is the nonogram, sometimes called hanjie, picross, or picture cross.  The game presents players with a blank grid of squares and clues indicating which ones should be colored in.  When the puzzle is solved, the colored squares depict a simple image.  You can read more thorough instructions here.

 


Nonograms are now available in Maple Learn!  These documents are coded using Maple scripts which can be viewed online in Maple Learn.  The document collection has pre-made puzzles and randomly-generated puzzles, and now you can create your own!  Use this document to create an image, and follow the instructions therein to generate the interactive puzzle.  Once you’ve created your own Maple Learn nonogram, use the sharelink to send it to friends!  Also keep your eye on the entire Maple Learn games collection for more in the future!

Récemment, j’ai assisté à une présentation sur comment utiliser Maple Learn pour créer des documents artistiques et aujourd’hui  je vous écris pour vous donner mes conseils sur ce sujet. Maple Learn a beaucoup de fonctionnalités permettant de créer des documents visuels tout en étant un outil parfait pour faire vos devoirs.

Caractéristique 1 : Les formes

 Le premier document artistique de cette collection, le « Pi Pie » a été créé en utilisant la palette géométrie de Maple Learn. Elle fournit des modèles pour tracer des formes géométriques de façon plus simple. Le plus important dans ce document est l’utilisation de « Polygon() » pour créer le symbole pi. Insérez le nombre de points que vous voulez entre les parenthèses et le graphique connectera les points dans l’ordre entre eux. J’ai dessiné le symbole de pi sur un papier graphique et j’ai copié les points dans Maple Learn. C’est beaucoup d’effort, mais je pense que l’effet créé en vaut la peine.

 

Caractéristique 2 : Les fonctions

Ce personnage se nomme Milo je l’ai créé au lycée. Avec Maple Learn je l’ai reproduit en utilisant avec uniquement des fonctions. Voyons cela plus en détails :

  • La tête et les cheveux sont des fonctions paramétriques. Les personnes  se souvenant de leur cours de maths savent que (x, y) = (cos(t), sin(t)) est la formule d’ un cercle unitaire. Nous pouvons modifier l ‘étendue de t, les coefficients avant sin(t) et cos(t) et additionner ou soustraire les constantes pour créer des cercles partielles ou des ellipses.
  • Les yeux grisés sont fait avec des inégalités. Maple Learn permet de griser des régions d’inégalités automatiquement.
  • Le sourire de Milo est l’équation d’un cercle limité par “| y < -0.5”. L’opérateur barre  « such that » vous permet de limiter le domaine et l’étendue d’une fonction.
  • Le cœur vient d’une formule trouvée en ligne. Les mathématiciens ont découvert beaucoup d’équations incrédules de ce type !

Caractéristique 3 : L’animation

Mon document artistique final permet de voir germer une jolie fleur lorsque l’on utilise le curseur de la barre de défilement.  Après avoir défini une variable dans Maple Learn, la barre de défilement apparait et permet l’ajustement de la valeur de la variable. Par exemple :

  • Associez les coordonnées d’un point avec une variable. Évaluez une fonction à un point correspondant à cette variable et voyez comment lorsque la variable change, le point se déplace.
  • Associez l’étendue  d’une fonction paramétrique à une variable. Quand la variable change la fonction s’étend ou se contracte.
  • Utilisez une variable avec une fonction par morceaux. Quand la variable est dans la gamme lui correspondant vous pouvez la visualiser.

Les mathématiques sont une belle langue et chaque type d’expression peut ajouter un plus à votre toile. Mes techniques ne sont que le début de belles pièces d’arts dans Maple Learn. Montrez-nous vos documents artistiques ou vos techniques dans les commentaires !

 

It’s been a few months since the previous blog post on Maple Learn art, and the possibilities keep on growing.  I recently took part in a presentation on art in Maple Learn, and am here to pass on some tips and tricks to you, dear blog reader.  Maple Learn has a huge capacity for both creativity and ingenuity, and is the perfect program for doing your homework or exploring the world of mathematical art.  Check out the art I made here, and soon even more will be added to the Maple Learn Example Gallery!

 

Feature 1: Shapes

The first drawing in the batch, the “Pi Pie” (happy Pi Day!) was created using Maple Learn’s geometry palette.  The palette provides templates for plotting geometric shapes easily.  Most notably in this art is the use of Polygon() to create the pi symbol.  Insert as many points as you want between the brackets, and the plot will connect each one in order.  I drew pi on graph paper and copied down all the coordinates into Maple Learn.  A lot of work, but the effect was worth it.

 

Feature 2: Functions

This is Milo, a character I made in high school.  In Maple Learn, he is built entirely out of functions.  Let’s take a deep dive into what’s going on:

  • The head and hair are parametric functions.  Folks who’ve taken a math class that includes parametrics know that (x, y) = (cos(t), sin(t)) is the formula for a unit circle.  We can modify the range of t, coefficients in front of sin(t) and cos(t), and add or subtract constants to create partial circles and ellipses.

  • The shaded eyes are done with inequalities; Maple Learn shades inequality areas automatically.

  • Milo’s big smile is the equation of a circle with the added detail “| y < -0.5”.  The bar is the “such that” operator, which allows users to limit the domain and range of the function.

  • The body is a piecewise function: positive slope for x-values on the left side, negative slope for x-values on the right, and nothing in between.

  • The heart shape came from a formula found online.  Mathematicians have discovered some incredible equations!

 

Feature 3: Animation

By final piece sprouts into a beautiful flower as one moves a slider.  After defining a variable in Maple Learn, a slider appears to adjust it.  This can be used for interactive explorations of graphs and animations.  For example:

  • Associate the coordinates of a point with the variable or a function evaluated at the variable.  As the variable changes, the point will move.

  • Associate the range of a parametric function with the variable.  As the variable changes, more or less of the function will appear.

  • Use the variable in the conditions of piecewise functions.  When the variable is in the correct range, the shapes or functions you defined in the piecewise will appear.

 

Mathematics is a beautiful language, and every type of expression can add more to your canvas.  These techniques are just the beginning of beautiful Maple Learn art.  Feel free to share your own art or your favorite tips in the comments! 

In computer science, the Towers of Hanoi (Wiki) are considered a prime example of a problem that can only be solved recursively (or iteratively). The time for calculating a certain position n thus grows exponentially with O(2n). In this article an explicit solution is presented with which one can compute any position n with the same computing time O(1). This explicit solution is used in all animations.

Explicit solution

Si vous aimez les mathématiques, vous connaissez le symbole mathématique pi. Vous devriez aussi savoir que le jour de pi est le 14 mars ou 3/14. Le jour de Pi était donc ce lundi donc vous vous demandez peut-être pourquoi je publie ce post aujourd’hui ? Et bien pour ce poste, j’ai pensée que je pourrai vous donner plus d’information au sujet de pi, l’histoire de pi et l’histoire de la célébration du jour de pi.

Commençons avec une vue d’ensemble de pi. Il est le symbole mathématique qui représente la proportion entre la circonférence d’un cercle et son diamètre. Comme il a une connexion avec les cercles, pi est utilisé pour calculer les volumes des solides, l’aire et le périmètre d’un cercle et bien plus.

Comment a t’il été découvert ?

Le premier calcul de pi a été effectué par Archimède qui a fait une approximation de l’aire d’un cercle en utilisant le théorème de Pythagore. Il trouve l’aire de deux polygones réguliers : Celui qui s’inscrit dans le cercle et celui que le cercle circonscrit. Avec cette méthode, il a pu trouver une approximation de l’aire entre les deux polygones et ainsi une approximation de l’aire du cercle.

 Le symbole de Pi a été introduit et popularisé au 16e siècle. Avec cela, George Buffon a trouvé une méthode de calcul de pi basée sur des probabilités au même siècle.

Tout mène à une de mes plus grandes interrogations : Comment le jour de pi a été créé ? Je sais que la date est symbolique, mais pourquoi nous célébrons pi ?

Le jour de pi a été introduit en 1988 par un physicien nommé Larry Shaw.  Le 14 mars est aussi la date d’anniversaire d’Albert Einstein et ce qui ajoute quelque chose de plus a célébré supplémentaire pour les physiciens. Le premier jour de pi fut célébré avec une parade circulaire et des tartes aux fruits.  À Maplesoft, nous l’avons célébrer avec des tartes ainsi qu’en faisant de l’art avec Maple Learn.

Peut-être que qu’un jour d’autres jours célébrants des concepts mathématiques ajouterons à notre calendrier, mais en attendant, commencez planifier le jour de pi pour l’année prochaine ! Peut-être que vous pouriez créer quelque chose de plus grand que la première célébration en 1988. J’espère que votre jour de pi c’est bien passé !

If you know math, you’re aware of the mathematical sign of pi. If you’re really into math, you know of Pi Day, occurring on March 14, or 3/14. Pi day this year occurred on Monday, so you may be wondering why we’re posting today as well! Well, I thought I’d give a bit more information about pi, the history of it, and the history of celebrating Pi Day.

Let’s start with a brief overview of pi. Pi is a mathematical sign representing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, typically approximated to 3.14. Because of its connection to circles, pi is used to calculate the volumes of solids, area and perimeter of circles, and many other applications.

So how did we come up with this?

The first calculation of pi is attributed to Archimedes, who approximated the area of a circle using the Pythagorean Theorem. He found the area of two regular polygons: the one inscribed into the circle, and the one which the circle is circumscribed. This way he could find an approximation between the areas of those two polygons, and therefore an approximation of the area of the circle.

In the 1700s, the symbol for Pi was introduced and popularized. Along with that, Georges Buffon found a way to calculate Pi based on probability in the same century.

This leads to what was my biggest question: How did Pi Day come about? I know the digits of the date are significant, but why do we celebrate pi?

Pi Day was founded in 1988 by a physicist named Larry Shaw. March 14 is also Albert Einstein’s birthday, adding a bit of extra celebration to the date by physicists. The first Pi Day featured a circular parade and fruit pies. Here at Maplesoft, we celebrated with pie, and learning how to make art with Maple Learn.

Maybe someday we’ll have more days celebrating mathematical concepts, but for now, start planning for next year’s Pi Day! Perhaps you can make it bigger and better than the first celebration in 1988. I hope your Pi Day this year went well, and happy Friday!

La pandémie de COVID 19 nous a forcé à nous lancés dans l'apprentissage en ligne - mais après deux ans, il est clair que l'apprentissage en ligne est là pour rester. La bonne nouvelle est que de plus en plus de recherches sont disponibles et nous donnant plus d'informations sur les avantages et inconvénients des différentes méthodes d'enseignement ainsi que leur impact sur l'apprentissage de l’élèves. Tout cela conduit à une question : comment l'enseignement peut-il être plus efficace en ces temps difficiles ? Nous discuterons des recherches effectués et leur lien avec Maple Learn. Cependant, je tiens à préciser que je ne prétends pas être un spécialiste du sujet. Je suis simplement un étudiant qui veut améliorer l'apprentissage en ligne pour moi-même et mes pairs.

Dans ce contexte il existe trois principaux styles d'apprentissage, convenus par les psychologues : apprentissage passif, actif et interactif. Cependant, aujourd'hui, nous allons nous concentrer uniquement sur l'apprentissage interactif. L'apprentissage interactif est l'endroit où l'élève agit comme «un sujet d'activité éducative» (Kutbiddinova, Eromasova et Romanova, 2016). Dans la pratique, cela signifie généralement que l'étudiant collabore avec ses pairs. Cette pièce est plus difficile lorsque les cours sont en ligne et/ou asynchrones. Personnellement, j'ai eu du mal à établir des liens avec mes pairs pendant mes études en ligne, car notre principale forme de communication était les messages sur les forums de discussion. Nous discuterons des avantages de l'apprentissage interactif, puis discutons de la façon dont Maple Learn peut être utilisé dans le modèle d'apprentissage interactif.

Le principal avantage de l'apprentissage interactif est qu'il encourage la participation active de toutes les personnes concernées. Lorsqu'ils sont encouragés à interagir avec leurs pairs dans des groupes plus petits, cela permet une plus grande participation des membres du groupe, par rapport au fait de poser des questions à toute la classe et de leur demander de lever la main pour répondre. Dans la même façon, l'apprentissage interactif crée plus d'engagement avec le matériel éducatif, ainsi que plus d'initiative de la part de l’étudiant (Ibid).

Dans un exemple discuté par Anderson en 2014, les étudiants se sont mis par paires et ils ont discuté de leur réponse à une question. Les étudiants, lors de l'exercice, devaient choisir sur une réponse, puis discuter de leur raisonnement qui a mené à ce choix,, dans le but de faire changer d'avis l'autre étudiant. Cela a créé une compréhension du matériel, ainsi qu'un investissement émotionnel dans le sujet.

Alors, comment Maple Learn peut-il aider à faciliter l'apprentissage interactif dans un environnement en ligne ? Commençons par recréer l'exemple d'Anderson, mais en ligne et avec une légère variation pour un cours de mathématiques.

À l'aide de Maple Learn, l'élève peut suivre toutes ses étapes, copier ses notes papier ou résoudre l'équation au fur et à mesure qu'il tape. Il peut également utiliser du texte pour expliquer son raisonnement pour chaque étape ou pour placer des formules à côté des mathématiques qu'il a utilisées.

À partir de là, l'élève peut utiliser la fonction de partage instantané pour échanger des documents avec quelqu'un d'autre dans la classe. Cela permet aux deux étudiants de voir le travail et le raisonnement de l'autre, sans avoir à lire des notes manuscrites numérisées. Cela signifie également que l'examen peut se produire de manière asynchrone, permettant aux étudiants de différents endroits et/ou fuseaux horaires de discuter. Contrairement à l'exemple original, puisque nous parlons de mathématiques, l'élève n'essaie pas nécessairement de convaincre l'autre élève. Les commentaires sur les mathématiques sont davantage utilisés pour donner des commentaires ciblés et soit comprendre soit d'autres façons de résoudre le problème, soit la bonne façon si elle a été mal résolue à l'origine.

S'éloignant de l'exemple, cette méthode peut également être utilisée pour l’annotation par les pairs. Maple Learn propose de nombreuses couleurs de police de texte différentes, permettant aux étudiants de laisser des commentaires sur le document, puis de générer un nouveau lien de partage instantané à renvoyer à l'étudiant d'origine.

Il existe bien d’autres façons d'utiliser Maple Learn pour l'apprentissage interactif, mais nous aimerions également connaître vos idées ! Veuillez nous faire savoir dans les commentaires si vous avez utilisé Maple Learn d'autres manières interactives, ou si vous avez des questions ou des suggestions à ce sujet.

The COVID 19 pandemic threw us for a spin with Online Learning – but after two years, it’s clear that Online Learning is here to stay. The good news is that more and more research is making its way to the classroom, giving us more information on the pros and cons of different teaching methods and how it impacts student learning. This all leads to one question: How can teaching be more effective during these tough times? Let’s discuss the research done and how it relates to Maple Learn. As a note, I do not claim to be an expert on this topic. I am simply a student attempting to improve online learning for myself and my peers.

There are three main styles of learning, in this context, agreed upon by psychologists: Passive, Active, and Interactive Learning. However, today we’re only going to focus on Interactive Learning. Interactive Learning is where the student acts as “a subject of educational activity” (Kutbiddinova, Eromasova, and Romanova, 2016). What this typically means in practice is the student collaborates with peers. This piece is much more difficult when classes are online and/or asynchronous. I know I struggled to make connections with my peers while in school online, as our main form of communication was discussion board posts. Let’s talk about the advantages of Interactive Learning first, and then discuss how Maple Learn can be used within the Interactive Learning model.

The main advantage of Interactive Learning is that it encourages the active participation of all involved. When encouraged to interact with peers in smaller groups, this allows more participation of the members of the group, compared to asking questions to the entire class and asking for them to raise their hands for answering. At the same time, Interactive Learning creates more engagement in the material, along with more student initiative (Ibid).

In one example discussed by Anderson in 2014, the students got into pairs and discussed their answer to a question. The students, in the exercise, had to commit to one answer and then discuss their reasoning behind the answer, in an attempt to change the other student’s mind. This created understanding of the material, along with emotional investment in the topic.

So, how can Maple Learn help to facilitate Interactive Learning in an online environment? Let’s start with recreating Anderson’s example, but online and with a slight twist to accommodate a math class.

Using Maple Learn, the student can go through all their steps, copying from their paper notes, or solving the equation as they type. They can also use text to explain their reasoning behind taking each step, or to place formulas beside the math they’ve used.

From there, the student can use the snapshot share feature to swap documents with someone else in the class. This allows both students to see the other’s work, and reasoning, without having to read scanned handwritten notes. This also means the review can happen asynchronously, allowing students from different places and/or time zones to discuss. In contrast to the original example, since we’re discussing Math, the student is not necessarily trying to convince the other student. The comments on the math are used more for giving targeted feedback, and understanding either other ways of solving the problem, or the correct way if originally solved wrong.

Taking a step away from the example, this method can also be used for peer marking. Maple Learn offers many different text font colors, allowing students to leave comments on the document, then generate a new snapshot to send back to the original student.

There are many other ways Maple Learn could be used for Interactive Learning, but we’d like to hear your ideas too! Please let us know in the comments if you’ve used Maple Learn in other Interactive ways, or if you have any questions or suggestions for us.

 

Works cited:

Anderson, Jill. “The Benefit of Interactive Learning.” Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2014, https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/14/11/benefit-interactive-learning.

Kutbiddinova, Rimma, et al. “The Use of Interactive Methods in the Educational Process of the Higher Education Institution.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL & SCIENCE EDUCATION, 2016, Accessed 2022.

Explorer 1 was the first satellite sent into space by the United States. It was a scientific instrument that led to the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belt. In order to keep its orientation, the satellite was spin stabilized. Unexpectedly, shortly after launch, Explorer 1 flipped the axis of rotation. The animation below shows, on the left, Explorer 1 in its initial state after launch, rotating about the axis of minimum moment of inertia. On the right side, 100 minutes later in the simulation, Explorer 1 rotates about the axis of maximum moment of inertia. This unintended behavior could not be explained immediately. Finally, structural damping in the four whip-like antennas was made responsible for the flip (explained here).

The flip can be reproduced with MapleSim using flexible beam components with damping enabled. Without damping and without slight angular misalignment at launch the flip does not manifest.

The simulation is only of qualitative nature since data of the antennas could not be found. On images of Explorer 1, the antennas look prebend and show large deflections of about 45 degrees under gravity. Since rotation of the satelite stretches the antennas, no modeling of large deflections needed to be considered in the simulation and rather stiff antennas (2 mm in diameter) without spheres at their ends were used. (Modeling large deflections with high fidelity might only be considered if the unfolding process of the antennas at launch is of interest. This should be modeled with several flexible beam components.)  

The graph bellow shows the evolution of the angular velocity in x direction. Conservation of angular momentum reduces the angular velocity when the satellite starts flipping towards a rotation about the axis of maximum moment of inertia.

Not long ago such simulations would have been worth a doctoral thesis. Today its rather straight forward to reproduce the flip with MapleSim.

Not so easy is the calculation of energy and angular momentum (for the purpose of observing how well numerics preserve physical quantities in rather long calculations. After all, the solver does not know the physical context). Such calculations would require access to the inertia matrix of the cylinder component including a coordinate transform into the frame of reference where the vector of rotation can be measured.

In case such calculations are possible with MapleSim, it would be nice if someone can update the model or at least indicate how calculations can be done.

Explorer_1_Parameters_and_links.mw

Explorer_1.msim

On a side note: I learned from the flip in an excellent series of lectures on dynamics. Wherever our professor could, he came up with animation in hardware. In this case, he could only provide an exciting story about the space race and sometimes fruitful mistakes in science. That’s why I still remember it.

It’s midterm season in North America! I know, I know, you see enough reminders at school. However, we’re here to help with those tough midterms, with tips good for those who are taking their first midterms or who have already taken many.

I surveyed the co-op students working at Maplesoft, and collected some of their best study tips and mindsets surrounding midterms. Maplesoft hires many co-ops, as a piece of their education in work experience.

Let’s start with studying! One thing many of the students brought up was the importance of notetaking. Even if the lectures are recorded, or PowerPoints are given, it’s important to take notes that you can study from, that are more succinct. As well, another discussed the importance of doing many different types of studying, in order to keep you interested and focused. For example, using flashcards and answering practice problems, instead of only using flashcards.

So, how can Maplesoft help with your studying? Let’s start with a video. In this video, Justice explains how first year math can be explored using Maple Learn’s features. He walks through using the document gallery, which we’ll talk about later, along with the power of Maple Learn.

You can also create your own study sheets in Maple Learn, to reference later, or to simply practice what you know! One suggestion would be to create a sheet as though you’re teaching someone else, as teaching can be a great way to learn concepts and cement them in your mind.

These are just some of the many ways that Maple Learn can be used to improve your studying! Play around with introducing Maple Learn into your study routine, and I know you’ll find a method that works for you.

Are you having trouble grasping some advanced concepts? We have many different documents in the document gallery, available here. These documents typically fall under 3 categories: explanation documents explaining theory, example documents showing how to apply the theory, and then practice problems for you to solve that include solutions.

Proofs were a topic the students considered an advanced topic, and as such we’ll use that as an example. A simple search brings up many documents, ranging from the proof of the derivative of sine (here) to the Taylor’s Theorem proof (here). These documents are available for a wide variety of topics, from calculus to graph theory to kinematics.

Time Management is another piece that many of the students identified. We know this can be hard, especially when there are so many things to juggle, so we’ve created a document to help you plan out your time, available here!

                                                          

Using the document, you can see how many hours in a day that you’re using for sleep, studying, and everything else you can think of. We hope this helps you to keep track of just how many hours in a day you can realistically study!

Now, we know that studying isn’t the only hard part of a midterm. The mindset piece is critical, along with studying. Let’s see what the students had to say about it!

One of the students surveyed responded with “I am going to fail at some point. It is inevitable, and that is okay”. This is a great mindset for everyone to have. Remember that even failure isn’t failure. Learning something from any experience is a success, even if the outcome wasn’t what you wanted. There’s always next time, and time to learn even more and improve.

Another student discussed the importance of a positive mindset, saying “Stay calm, stay confident, and as long as you try your best you will do great!” Remember, in the end, the best you can do is all you can do.

We know midterms are a stressful time. Take care of yourself as we at Maplesoft continue to support you.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love is celebrated all around the world on this day, but did you know of some other love celebrations, and some of the mythology around the holiday?

First of all, Cupid. We all know of the image of Cupid and his bow, shooting arrows to make couples fall in love. But where exactly did this come from?

Cupid is a Latin deity, the son of Venus and Mars. With his parents being love and war, it’s no surprise that he ended up with a bow! In one legend, he shoots a golden arrow at Apollo, which makes him fall in love with a nymph. Unfortunately for Apollo, he also shoots a lead arrow at the nymph, making her repulsed by him.

Roses are another popular tradition with Valentine’s Day. Red roses persist as a symbol of Aphrodite, the mother of Cupid, and are a symbol of love. Did you know you can draw them in Maple Learn with our geometry palette? See one rendition below of a stained glass rose. The link to the document is HERE.

Now, there are a few other love traditions around the world. Did you know that not everyone celebrates love only on Valentine’s Day? There are other important days around the world, and some pre-date Valentine’s Day.

For example, in China, the Miao people celebrate the Sister’s Meal Festival, likely our earliest form of a Valentine’s Day tradition in the world. This occurs in March. Young women make dyed rice representing the different seasons, and when the men come by to sing, they give them packages of the rice. Inside the rice are objects, each with different meanings. A pair of red chopsticks means the woman returns the man’s affection, while one red chopstick is a polite refusal. A clove of garlic or a chili pepper means a strong refusal, and pine needles mean that she is waiting for him to woo her.

We’ve created a document to join in on the fun, even if you’re not participating in this Festival this year. Follow the link HERE to work with fraction tiles to pack your own rice packages, and your own responses to declarations of love. 

We hope everyone has a lovely Valentine’s day!

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone here in the MaplePrimes community, as we enter the Year of the Tiger! There are different traditions followed in the many countries around the world where the Lunar New Year is celebrated. In my own Canadian-Chinese family, we usually cook a big meal and share with family members and friends. 

The pandemic has made this year's celebration more muted, but I did cook a large batch of our favourite dumplings and made up several packages to take to friends. That led to the question: how many ways can I arrange 10 dumplings on a plate from the 3 kinds I made? Of course, that called for a Maple Learn document to compute the answer: A Counting Problem: Selecting Dumplings
 


I was also interested in understanding the formula used in this computation, and so I created a second document showing a special case of this problem. By moving the sliders around, you can see how the "Stars and Bars" method for counting the ways one can choose a number of items from distinct bins works: Visualization the Stars and Bars Method.

I hope you enjoy trying out these documents and I wish everyone good health, happiness and prosperity in the coming year!

When I was in middle school, I was really into puzzles.  At one point I attempted the Three Utilities Problem.  This famous problem is deceptively simple: three houses and three “utilities” (heating, water, and electricity) are represented by dots on a flat piece of paper.  The goal is to connect each house to the three utilities without crossing any lines.

Figure 1: A starting setup.

I spent hours drawing lines.  I eventually looked it up online, and the internet told me that the problem was impossible.  I didn’t believe it, and tried for several more hours until I was forced to accept its impossibility.  I still remember this intense stint of puzzling to this day.

    

Figure 2: Cue twelve-year-old me saying “I’ll get it eventually…”

Looking back, I wonder if this sparked my interest in graph theory.  I know now that the Three Utilities Problem is truly unsolvable.  I know that the graph’s formal name is K3,3 and I know a full graph theory proof explaining its nonplanarity.  Nevertheless, I still love this puzzle, and I’ve recently recreated it in Maple Learn.

To do this, I created a table of x and y values and plotted all of them using the Point() command.  This allows the points to be fully click-and-drag-able.  Line segments joining two points automatically move with the points as well.  We then have a fully interactive graph directly in the Maple Learn plot window.  I can move the “houses” and “utilities” around all I want to try and solve the unsolvable.  I can also create other graphs to further explore planarity, paths, matchings, or any other aspects of the wide world of graph theory.

If you want to check out the document for yourself, it can be found here

 

The Bohemian Matrix Calendar 2022 is up!  You may find it at https://rcorless.github.io/ (four versions: letter/A4 paper, Sunday/Monday start to the week).

It prints quite well (with proper equipment).  I wish you all the best for 2022.

 

Since the start of the pandemic, I have been involved in online mathematics tutoring. I tried many different applications to best communicate with my students, and ended up sticking with Maple Learn. Here’s my setup, and why I chose Maple Learn.

My Setup

When I have an online tutoring session, I join a scheduled video call to “see” my students. I then open a blank Maple Learn document, and share my screen. I explain whatever I need to explain, while writing key information on the Maple Learn document. When I don’t want Learn to interpret what I write, I go into text mode; when I do (e.g. when I want to graph a function), I stay in math mode. When the class is over, I send the document’s sharelink to my students by email, so that they can access it. 

Here is an example of a Maple Learn document (pictured below) that I created while teaching trigonometry to a student. Keep in mind that I typed this while on call with the student, so the document is very simple - it only uses the most basic features of Maple Learn.

 

Why I Chose Maple Learn

My main student wants me to teach him trigonometry ahead of it being taught to him at school. For this, I need to be able to write lots of text and math easily, while on video call with him. 

Microsoft Word is not good enough for this: the equation editor is too clumsy. I also tried drawing tools where you can move your mouse to draw on the screen, but they make it too hard to write text. I even tried pointing a camera at my desk and writing the notes by hand, but my handwriting is terrible, and I could never find the right position for the camera. That’s the main reason why I chose Maple Learn: it lets me write both text and math quickly and simply, unlike many other applications.

There are some other benefits to using Maple Learn. I like that I can organize what I write in a visually appealing manner on the canvas, by moving groups around. I like that I can graph functions within Maple Learn, without having to open a graphing calculator in a separate tab. Finally, I find the sharelink feature convenient for sending the notes to my students after class.

Disclaimer: I discovered Maple Learn while working at Maplesoft during a co-op term.

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