For questions related to the teaching and learning of mathematics. Note that Mathematics Educators Stack Exchange may be a better home for narrowly scoped questions on specific issues in mathematics education.

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Examples of open ended calculus “class project” ideas

I have instructed calculus I an II, each once, at the college level and would like to emphasize that math is not just about memorizing formulas and concepts for a test and that applied math is not a ...
2
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2answers
446 views

Examples of groups in the real world

I'm looking for some examples of groups in the real world to show students in a liberal arts math course. For example the Rubik's cube. Keep in mind these students have only a college algebra ...
130
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31answers
13k views

Stopping the “Will I need this for the test” question [closed]

I am a college professor in the American education system and find that the major concern of my students is trying to determine the specific techniques or problems which I will ask on the exam. This ...
6
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1answer
219 views

How to combat memorization

As a student in high school, I never bothered to memorize equations or methods of solving, rather I would try to identify the logic behind the operations and apply them. However, now that I've begun ...
11
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3answers
1k views

Why study metric spaces?

Most universities have a 3rd year undergraduate analysis course in which metric spaces are studied in depth (compactness, completeness, connectedness, etc...). However, in practice it seems that most ...
8
votes
6answers
701 views

What we're never taught explicitly

I would like to make a complaint really. School math(s) can be the most boring way to learn: sitting down and rote learning binomial expansion or the volume of a cylinder is just not interesting. It ...
5
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3answers
104 views

Swapping Theorems with definitions

My question is motivated from the following passage of Gian-Carlo Rota's Indiscrete Thoughts, 'Suppose you are given two formal presentations of the same mathematical theory. The definitions of the ...
2
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1answer
75 views

Storytelling and Applied Narrative as a Teaching Tool

Is anyone integrating storytelling or applied narrative as a technique/methodology to help teach undergraduate mathematics-based course work? If so, how are you using it and from which sources are you ...
1
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2answers
232 views

Explaining the concept of $z$-scores in high school statistics

The students have so far studied the uniform probability distribution and have a working familiarity with relative frequency histograms and the 68-95-99.7 empirical rule. They still have trouble with ...
271
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33answers
34k views

Pedagogy: How to cure students of the “law of universal linearity”?

One of the commonest mistakes made by students, appearing at every level of maths education up to about early undergraduate, is the so-called “Law of Universal Linearity”: $$ \frac{1}{a+b} ...
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0answers
2k views

PERCENTAGE Problem

Q: Paulson spends 75% of his income. His income is increased by 20% and he increased his expenditure by 10%.Find the percentage increase in his savings . Sol: Let the original ...
1
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0answers
63 views

Studies on how the wording employed on the explanation of mathematical concepts helps students to learn?

I remember that I had to learn division in my childhood, I could handle all the other mathematical concepts that were presented until then but division was a real pain to learn, somehow the idea of ...
3
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1answer
326 views

Math Shock in graduate program

People call it Culture shock but I call it Math Shock... let me explain my Problem... First I am graduate student in a good university in USA ( I get scholarship from my country). Before I lived in ...
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24answers
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How would you explain to a 9th grader the negative exponent rule?

Let us assume that the students haven't been exposed to these two rules: $a^{x+y} = a^{x}a^{y}$ and $\frac{a^x}{a^y} = a^{x-y}$. They have just been introduced to the generalization: $a^{-x} = ...
4
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3answers
360 views

How can I explain my 9 years old brother that $8a\cdot4a \neq 64a$

My youngest brother had a pre-algebra test yesterday and he was asked to tell if two expressions are equal or not. We agreed on most of the things but on this one I find it hard to make him accept my ...
3
votes
0answers
76 views

Is there a link between level of abstraction and use of numbers?

One of my friend who stopped studying maths in high school told me once You study maths, can you help me fill my tax forms? In her mind, advancing in maths studies implied manipulating an ...
2
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1answer
45 views

Proving that there exists $w$ such that $4x < 6w < 6x$ and $\gcd(w,\frac{x\#}{6})=1$ where $x \ge 7$ and $x\#$ is the primorial

I am trying to show that for any integer $x \ge 7$, there exists $w$ with the following properties: $4x < 6w < 6x$ $\gcd\left(6w,\frac{x\#}{6}\right)=1$ I thought that this would be pretty ...
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1answer
56 views

Learning way and Resource for Complete math Subject. [closed]

I want to learn [self learning] Mathematics from basic.What is the order [like 1) arithmetic,2) Geometry,Etc..] to learn the maths? and what is the best resource to that particular subject?
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2answers
78 views

Why is Cauchy condition for convergence not formulated in a simpler way?

The standard definition of a Cauchy sequence (e.g. it's given in Wikipedia and most textbooks I remember; admittedly those are mostly older ones) is: for every positive real $ε > 0$ there is a ...
2
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2answers
112 views

Information on crucial results concealed as exercises or neglected in a textbook

First, where can students find lists, information, or resources on the crucial results, inequalities, theorems, etc... which a textbook might not explictly feature or even bring up at all? Second, ...
20
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3answers
1k views

A problem V.I. Arnold solved as a primary school student

According to a 1995 interview that Vladimir I. Arnold gave to the Notices of the AMS, his primary school teacher I.V. Morozkin gave in 1949 (when Arnold was 12 years old) to a Soviet classroom, most ...
12
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5answers
267 views

Scholarly work on the beauty of math

When reading mathematical books written for a general audience, or even searching questions on this site, the adjective beautiful is often used to describe mathematics. My question is whether there ...
4
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3answers
257 views

Learning math for physics

I am very interested in physics and am planning to self studying it. But for this I need to be mature in various areas of math. So I want to know what is the order in which I need to learn the math ...
3
votes
2answers
288 views

What's the right moment to learn Set Theory?

I've seen a question in which the OP asked when is the right moment to learn Category Theory, it seems this moment comes a little after a course of algebra, and indeed some books on abstract algebra ...
6
votes
1answer
181 views

Soft Question: Suggestions on mathematics resources for problem solving.

I'm doing my final year of under graduation through distance education and would be appearing for entrance tests for various graduate schools in a few weeks. I am looking for a database of ...
2
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3answers
117 views

On the nature of a first derivative

This is a very, very basic question. Never been very involved in math but I've been learning calculus in my free time, so here goes. I have observed some various things that happen with derivatives, ...
2
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2answers
128 views

Mclaurin on $\arccos(\frac{n^2-1}{n^2+1})$

I have expanded $\lim_{n\to \infty} \arccos(\frac{n^2-1}{n^2+1})$ to $\arccos(1-\frac{2}{n^2})$ and now i dont know what to do. I wrote the function on walfram alpha and he told me that the result is ...
2
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3answers
236 views

Difference between school mathematics and university (real) mathematics [closed]

Several people I know were good in mathematics when they were in high school and they loved it but when they joined a university (specializing in mathematics) they felt mathematics is hard and that ...
3
votes
0answers
159 views

Learn enumerative combinatorics? [closed]

I am interested in becoming proficient in enumerative combinatorics relatively quickly. I want to be able to look at a problem briefly and think of multiple different useful approaches to it. Any ...
0
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2answers
3k views

How to learn calculus for beginners? [duplicate]

As a precalculus student interested in teaching myself calculus, where should I start and how should I go about learning? This question is different than past questions as I am not solely interested ...
13
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3answers
457 views

Being mathematically critical: how should a student approach statements that appear to be obvious?

Very occasionally, I will read or hear a theorem, and think: isn't that obvious? Not in a contemptuous "I can immediately see how to prove this" way, but rather in a "I would have thought this was ...
2
votes
4answers
318 views

How would you create a math class that centers on the cultural experiences of African American and Latino students [closed]

I need to write a paper on "Ethnocentric Mathematics" and I have no idea what kind of effective teaching strategies are available. We read an article from this scholar named Tate who explained that in ...
15
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1answer
2k views

How do you remember theorems?

I am currently a Master's student in math. I do very well in my classes, understand the material, can do the proofs w/o having to read the text, etc, but as time passes, I find that I will forget ...
10
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6answers
5k views

Up-to-date advice on the best way to take notes (maths)

I have read some old discussions about this topic and would like to get some up-to-date advice if possible. I'm going to start university next year (maths), and I know how important is to have a set ...
5
votes
6answers
561 views

What is the point of quadratic residues?

What is the most motivating way to introduce quadratic residues? Are there any real life examples of quadratic residues? Why is the Law of Quadratic Reciprocity considered as one of the most ...
8
votes
2answers
165 views

Is the maximal path through a math book necessarily linear?

I'm studying with two main math books (Munkres and D&F) these couple of months. My method so far is just going through the book page by page constructing everything in it (independently if I can) ...
14
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3answers
181 views

Applications of functions of the form $f(x)^{g(x)}$

Early on in my calculus education, I learned how to take the derivative of $x^x$ by re-writing it in the form $e^{x\ln x}$. More generally, this technique is helpful in finding the derivative of ...
4
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2answers
170 views

Is it better to teach or to grade?

As a graduate student at my university, I have the option many times of deciding what type of work I do for support. The two basic options are to teach either a calculus or college algebra course, or ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

Reform of math symbols for high school texts

I am looking for references to papers and resources related to reforming math symbols for introductory courses at middle or high school level. Pointers to other forums also welcome. Eidt: For ...
11
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1answer
294 views

How can I raise my intuition in solving mathematical problem?

I am an undergraduate student studying some elementary calculus and statistics. In my honor calculus class, my professor gave one of final exam problem: $$\lim_{n \to \infty} \int_{[0,1]^{n}} ...
3
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2answers
960 views

Most effective order for learning different branches of mathematics. [closed]

So, I'm just a current student with a lot of interest in mathematics. Usually I am on the site looking at the questions and most of them are about things I can't currently comprehend. As I would like ...
9
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1answer
102 views

Education: Reading Proofs

I am finishing my undergraduate degree and one thing I've noticed is how little weight has been placed upon the ability to read proofs, in basically all of my math courses. In first year calculus you ...
3
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2answers
129 views

Motivation for abstractness

I'm seeking examples of concepts or theorems in school mathematics that are better understood when we generalize (when we deal with a more abstract concept where the former concept is a special case ...
5
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2answers
140 views

Books that develop ideas through tough problems?

I want examples of books that advance by first posting a hard problem, one that would be very difficult without a given idea and then proves this idea and the power of the idea by solving the problem. ...
3
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1answer
67 views

Topic for teaching assessment

I'm in the position to have a teaching assessment with a tutoring agency next week. This assessment will include me teaching the assessor a topic of my choice in 15 minutes, demonstrating the Socratic ...
1
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0answers
81 views

(Actual) applications of basic differential and integral methods

If this isn't the place, I apologize: At the end of my calculus class, we asked the students (among other things) what some applications of calculus methods are. Disappointingly, many focused on the ...
18
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5answers
770 views

Proving a certain map on the closed unit disc must be the identity

Bounty expired. Will gladly re-create one if a satisfactory answer is posted in the future. Prove: Let $f$ be a continuous function on the closed unit disc with two properties: 1. $f$ is the ...
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5answers
190 views

$\mathrm{card} ( \mathbb{Q})=\mathrm{card}( \mathbb{Q^c})$: Overcoming Wrong Intuition

This is a widespread intuitive argument, asserting that $\mathrm{card} ( \mathbb{Q})=\mathrm{card}( \mathbb{Q^c})$: Between any two rational numbers there's an irrational one and vice versa. So ...
6
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0answers
236 views

What is the best way to go about learning math?

I know this is a very subjective question, but after struggling on my own for a while I figured I might as well ask it. I did all the normal math classes in college (LinAlg, MultiVariable Calc, ...
10
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4answers
800 views

Is studying mathematics chronologically a good idea or not and why?

In high school nowadays most mathematics you learn is fairly 'old'. You have your geometry, all of which (taught in high school) was known to the Greeks more than 2 thousand years ago. You have ...