## How to work with the Quadratic Formula

Next time you are trying to get your head around the quadratic formula, remember that humans are not the only animals to use numbers!

Studies demonstrate that the ability to process numbers is beneficial for the survival of many animals. Using numbers actually helps animals to hunt, avoid predators and interact with each other. Even before the evolution of animals skilled in manipulating numbers, single celled bacteria used numbers. They can  sense how many other bacteria are near them. A particular marine bacterium  gives off light, but if alone, it remains in the dark. However, if the population reaches a certain number, all produce light simultaneously.

Japanese ants make decisions to relocate their colony if they reach a certain number at the new site. Bees will estimate the number of landmarks present on their way to a food source. It is essential for honeybees to do this in order to measure the distance of a food source to their hive.

Studies with chimpanzees, show that their actions follow the equations military forces use to measure the strength of their opponents! One model suggests that a group of individuals should only fight if they outnumber the opposing side by at least 1.5. This is exactly how wild chimpanzees behave!

Place a field mouse into a space with two different sized groups of ants, and it always heads for the smaller group. This prevents it getting lots of painful bites, while it enjoys a nice snack!!

GCSE Maths students – you need to be able to factorise using the quadratic formula. Our new guide, “How to work with the Quadratic Formula” can help. It includes the formula, and explains how to use it. Included, as always are questions to try, and answers to check your understanding.

To see the guide, click on the picture below.

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