Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A Billion for a Billion, Feed The World

I don't wish to spoil any parties, but take a few minutes just to spare a thought for those less fortunate than us. The World Food Programme is running a billion for a billion campaign - if you don't do anything else, please just watch this video.

See also my post on Free Rice, written back in June 2009.

Donate to feed the hungry

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Quiz: Find the coordinates of these places; Latitude & Longitude Explained

To help us navigate around the Earth, we draw imaginary lines around it. First, we divide it into two parts. Through the middle, splitting the globe into two hemispheres, is the Equator. The half above the Equator is known as the Northern Hemisphere, and the lower half is known as the Southern Hemisphere.

Then, we draw lines parallel to the Equator. These, we call latitudes. The latitude of a place basically tells us how far a place is from the Equator. We express it as degrees north or degrees south. The equator, therefore, has zero latitude (0º). The North Pole is at 90ºN, and the South is at 90ºS.

We now draw lines from the North Pole to the South Pole. These lines are not parallel; instead, they meet at the two poles. We call these lines longitudes. As with latitudes, we need to express them in relative to something else, so a line passing to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (near London) was chosen as the zero-longitude reference line.

Places to the east of this line are in the eastern hemisphere, and places to the west are in the western hemisphere. The maximum longitude is 180ºE or 180ºW. This is actually the same line.

Using the latitude and longitude (we call them coordinates), we can locate any point on earth. Two of the most extreme points on earth are Attu Island, in Alaska, at 52ºN 172ºE, and Caroline Island, in the Pacific Ocean, at 9ºS 150ºW.

Now, using the map below (or use an atlas), try the quiz. Click on the map for a larger image.

Merry Christmas to the World!

To all those who have been through here these past six months, I would like to say thank you!

To all those who will be coming in the future, I would also like to say thank you!

To all my colleagues and peers who haven't been here, or who haven't found anything of interest, I will strive to change your mind.

To all my students, I would like to think I have been of help, be it slight or great, and to say to you 'Never give up!'

May you all have a wonderful Christmas, and may the New Year bring fresh challenges, new hopes and dreams, and lots of peace and happiness!

The 99 Most Essential Christmas Masterpieces (Amazon Exclusive) Disney's A Christmas Carol Timeless Christmas (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Sampler) The Original Christmas Classics (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer/Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town/Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns/Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol/Little Drummer Boy/Cricket on the Hearth)

Thursday, 17 December 2009

TeuxDeux: The "To Do" List You've been Waiting For!

Updated 16 May 2010: This has been superseded by this post here.

Some months back I started a 'to do' list on a Word document. I religiously jotted things down, crossed them out, and moved them about. However, I eventually stopped adding things as I became rather overwhelmed by it all - too busy to even look at the file!

Now, I've stumbled upon what could be the perfect 'to do' list! A no-frills online list which I can access at any time wherever I am, without worrying if I'd updated my list in the desktop or in the notebook, or if I had synchronised the files...

Signing up is dead easy: an email address and a username is all it needs to be up and running. To start using it is also so easy a child could do it. I love the 'someday' list, which is absolutely crucial for me. No doubt, TeuxDeux (pronounced  "to do") will change and grow, but I really hope its simplicity will be maintained.

Don't just take my word for it - check this video out!

TeuxDeux Demo from TeuxDeux on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas Trivia Quiz

Christmas is around the corner, and the school holidays are fast approaching. Let's get into the spirit of things and do this fun quiz! There are 13 questions; some are easy, and some not so easy.

Don't forget to take a look at Fresh Xmas Ideas: here

The 99 Most Essential Christmas Masterpieces (Amazon Exclusive) Disney's A Christmas Carol Timeless Christmas (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Sampler) The Original Christmas Classics (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer/Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town/Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns/Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol/Little Drummer Boy/Cricket on the Hearth)

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives, Basic Explanation + QUIZ!

When we are comparing two objects, we use the comparative form:

    Peter is taller than Paul.

When we are comparing between more than two objects, we use the superlative form:

    Jane is the tallest girl in class.

We form the comparative by adding '-er', and the superlative by adding '-est' to the adjective. Note also the use of the definite article, 'the' for superlative comparisons. See my post on when the definite article is not used here.

One-syllable adjectives

If an adjective ends with an 'e', just add '-r' or '-st':

    large - larger - largest

If it ends with a vowel and a consonant, double the consonant before adding the '-er' or '-est':

    hot - hotter - hottest
    thin - thinner - thinnest

Two-syllable adjectives ending with '-y'

Change the 'y' to an 'i' before adding 'er' or 'est':

    happy - happier - happiest
    funny - funnier - funniest

Adjectives with three or more syllables

For most other two-syllable and longer adjectives, we add 'more' to form the comparative, and 'most' to form the superlative:

    Shelly is more generous than her sister.
    He is the most interesting person I know.

Important Exceptions

Here are a few common irregular adjectives:

    good - better - best
    bad - worse - worst
    many - more - most

Now put your general knowledge to the test, and try this quiz:

Friday, 11 December 2009

Working with fractions: How to find the Least Common Multiple or the Greatest Common Factor?

Check your skills on fractions with this quiz. If you score below 70%, you probably need to do a little more revision first! Read until the end of this post and retry the quiz.

Fractions, as you probably already know, are numbers that represent part of a whole, e.g. 1/2 (one half) or 2/5 (two fifths). The number above the slash (/) is known as the numerator, and the number below is known as the denominator. The objective of this post is to revise a few basic concepts of calculating fractions before attempting the quiz which follows. If you are unfamiliar with maths terminology, here's an excellent interactive dictionary.

To multiply fractions, we just need to multiply the numerators together, and the denominators together, then reduce the resulting fraction:

5/6 x 5/8 = 25/48

4/5 x 5/6
= 20/30
= 2/3

To divide fractions, turn the fraction you are dividing by (divisor) upside down, then multiply:

3/8 ÷ 3/4
= 3/8 x 4/3
= 12/24
= 1/2

3/4 ÷ 3
= 3/4 x 1/3
= 3/12
= 1/4

To add or subtract fractions with the same denominator, we perform the arithmetical operation on just the numerator, and leave the denominator as it is:

3/8 + 7/8
= 10/8
= 1 2/8
= 1 1/4

7/8 - 3/8
= 4/8
= 1/2

However, if the denominators are different, we must first convert the fractions into equivalent fractions with the same denominators. To do this, it is useful to find the lowest common multiple of the denominators.


The least common multiple (LCM) (also known as lowest common multiple or smallest common multiple) of two numbers is the smallest number that is a multiple of both of them. A multiple of a number can be divided into the number without a remainder.

For example,

multiples of 4 are:

4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, ...

(add 4 to each to get the next multiple).

Multiples of 6 are:

6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 54, 60, 66, 72, 78, ...

(add 6 to each to get the next multiple).

Common multiples of 4 and 6, therefore, are numbers that are found in both lists:

12, 24, 36, 48, ....

The least common multiple, as you can see, is 12.

3/4 + 5/6
= 9/12 + 10/12
= 19/12
= 1 7/12

This is the very basic method of calculating the LCM. However, if you need to calculate the LCM of 2 big numbers, this method is not very convenient. So, we look at another way of calculating it. Let us find the LCM of 18 and 54.


First, we need to find the prime factors of these 2 numbers. Prime factors of a number are the prime numbers that divide into that number exactly, without leaving a remainder. The process of finding these numbers is called prime factorization:

18 = 2 x 3 x 3
54 = 2 x 3 x 3 x 3

We now draw a Venn diagram, which is a diagram of two circles intersecting another. We write all the factors that these two numbers have in common in the intersection (2, 3, 3). We write the unique factors of 18 on the left circle (none) and those of 54 on the right (3).

To find the least common multiple, multiply all the numbers we see in the diagram: 2 x 3 x 3 x 3, which gives 54.

To calculate the greatest common factor (also known as the highest common factor or the greatest common divisor), we multiply only the numbers in the intersection: 2 x 3 x 3, which gives 18.

Here's another example. Let us take a look at the numbers 48 and 180. Breaking them down, we have:

  48 = 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 3
180 = 2 x 2 x 3 x 3 x 5

We see that the common factors of these two numbers are 2, 2, and 3.
The resulting Venn diagram is as such:

The least common multiple is, therefore, 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 3 x 3 x 5, which equals 720.
The highest common multiple is 2 x 2 x 3, which equals 12.

The highest common multiple is useful for simplifying fractions, e.g. 48/180. Dividing both the numerator and the denominator by 12 will give the answer 4/15.

Example: 3/48 + 15/180

To be able to calculate this, we need to convert these fractions to have a common denominator, which we know from our previous calculation to be 720:

So, we divide 720 by 48 (the denominator), which gives us 15. We then multiply this by the numerator, 3, to give the answer 45.

3/48 = 45/720

Likewise, we divide 720 by the denominator, 180, to give 4. Multiplying this by the numerator, 15, we get 60:

15/180 = 60/720

3/48 + 15/180
= 45/720 + 60/720
= 105/720

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

PE - Basic Sessions

Tomás has asked me to post this here, so, like the good boy I am ;-), I'm granting his request. It's a short and simple PowerPoint presentation on a typical PE lesson. Regular readers may notice that this presentation, unlike the rest, is not hosted in Scribd. All the recent changes there have driven me up the wall, so I thought I'd try SlideShare instead.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Places on Earth Quiz

How well do you know your own planet, Earth? Test your geography knowledge with this fun quiz. Thanks goes to The Smithsonian and NASA for the images of Earth as seen from Space.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Clothes - Word Search Puzzle

Clue: There are 17 basic items of clothing embedded in this puzzle. The words are placed horizontally, vertically and diagonally, and can be in a forward or backward direction. The instructions in the document are not exactly correct as I have not provided the list of words. I figured it's more challenging this way!
Word Search - Clothes

You may also like these:

Parts of Clothing
(Classes/Types of) Clothing
Clothing Accessories
Online crossword puzzle