Well here it is – I know you’ve all been waiting for this; the Leeds Maths Tuition monthly review for November 2016. It’s been a good month – nothing special but I’ve been having quite a bit of fun. For a start I had to relearn how to solve my Rubik’s Cube – it’s about ten years since I first figured out how to solve the cube and it’s about three years since I last actually bothered to solve it so unsurprisingly I forgot how to do it. Actually it wasn’t all that bad having to re-learn – I really only had to figure out a little bit and then I was away – good old muscle memory!

I’ve also been playing around with my Japanese abacus (soroban) – this also inspired me to learn more about Japanese mathematics so I’ve done a short review of a book called ‘The History of Japanese Mathematics’ by David Eugene Smith; I’ll leave you to guess what it’s about. I mentioned my soroban in last month’s video when I’d dug it out and blown off the cobwebs – I’m really starting to get into it and it’s also got me onto something called Flash Anzan which is a technique for doing mental arithmetic. I’ve started to look into this technique for doing mental arithmetic – it seems to be quite popular in Japan (at least to the point where they have national Flash Anzan championships) but I think it would be really difficult to make it in any way mainstream in the UK.

Well I don’t want to give too much away about what’s in the video – just watch it if you really want to know. There’s nothing in it that will really help you with your studies – that comes in some of my other videos – but it’s just me getting a few things off my chest. I’ll be doing another video next month and who knows what I’ll be talking about. I bet you can’t wait!

So here is my first monthly review video – I decided to make this video just to share with you what’s been going on over the last few weeks in my life as a professional maths tutor. Sometimes I get some really interesting questions from my students during lessons and I thought that it would be a good idea to share some of those questions and their answers with you.

In this video, for example, I discuss weak and strong forms of proof by induction – usually A Level Further Maths students will only really get familiar with weak induction but strong induction is a lifesaver in some cases where weak induction just wouldn’t cut it. I also talk about functions as I was asked some really good questions about functions in one of my lessons when I was doing transformations of graphs with a GCSE student of mine.

I made a couple of videos over the last month – one was about how to improve your GCSE Maths and the other was how to improve your A Level Maths. There will be another couple of videos over the next month so keep an eye out for them.

Other things that I touch on are a couple of books that I read over the last month. The first was Alan Sugar’s Autobiography – I know, I know, it’s not exactly a maths book but I read it anyway. I also read Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman, which is another autobiography, and I started reading, or should I say working through, The Works of Archimedes (that’s the famous Greek scientist Archimedes).

And lastly I introduce my new friend the Soroban (Japanese abacus) which I’ve started to learn to use. I’ve only been learning for a weeks or so but things are going in the right direction. I’ve found a link that is really useful for learning – it doesn’t tell you how to use a soroban but it throws up random addition problems so that you have to try to figure them out on the soroban; it’s something called Flash Anzan and has been really useful so far in getting me used to the various combinations that you need to know to use the soroban.