It’s an old joke but this newsletter is being written on Star Wars Day, ‘May The Fourth Be With You!’

The puzzle for this month is not, on the surface, strictly mathematical but, as you’ll see from the answer at the end of this newsletter, there is some mathematical debate as to the correct answer. It is however a puzzle that can keep you thinking throughout the day and keep your mind active during coffee breaks, jogging sessions or when the output of the TV is not really very engaging.

Here it is. Find the number which when written as a word has all the letters in alphabetical order and then find the first number to contain the letter A.

While you are thinking about that here is some information about the updates on the Transum website made during this last month.

The first activity worth mentioning this month is called Mystic Rose. It’s an old idea made interactive. It initially seems as though the number sequence created by the number of regions in the roses is simply powers of two but as you get to the 6th term of the sequence there is a surprise in store.

This activity comes with some printable sheets which makes the counting process a lot easier. The sheets can also be used for other investigations such as the two-colour theorem or finding polygons in the patterns of lines. This activity can produce some stunning display work.

The ‘Learn a times table in five days’ page has been brought up to date with a reorganising of the activities and cartoon-like pictures added for all 121 multiplication facts. These pictures, designed to help a person remember whichever multiplication fact they can’t get into their heads, are collected into an easily accessible click grid for Transum subscribers.

The Tablesmaster results page has also been updated so that a pupil can see the memory-aiding picture for the multiplication fact that took longest to recall. I hope this addition contributes towards times table learning around the world.

For those of you working in an IB school you may be interested to hear that additional worked solutions have been added to the Exam-Style Questions pages. Most of the worked solutions contain relevant TI-nSpire screen shots. It is hoped this resource will be just as useful for A-level teachers as the content is so similar.

Finally the answer to the puzzle. Forty is the number that has its letters in alphabetical order and the first number to contain the letter A is either a thousand or one hundred and one. You can see the discussion this puzzle generated on the 7th October Starter page.

Good luck to everyone involved in this exam season. Just remember that Transum has some less demanding, fun activities for you to enjoy when it is all over.

John

ps.If it is cold, go and stand in the corner, because it is 90 degrees there!