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

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Resources for Teaching High School Statistics

I am a student teacher looking for resources to teach high school Probability & Statistics (untracked). The second semester will be inferential statistics and will include these following topics: ...
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129 views

Educational software for graduate mathematics

Our university uses computer software to help automate and expedite the learning process for basic math classes (college algebra, trigonometry, precalculus, etc.). Software such as this provides ...
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1answer
140 views

Planning a mockup maths class for high school related to river reactivation

I have to plan a mockup maths lesson where the "main topic" should be river reactivation. The given suggestion is to focus on computing cross-sectional areas of rivers using basic geometry and for ...
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0answers
293 views

Dynamic Geometry Software for Straight-edge and Compass Constructions

Geogebra is a very good dynamic geometry software. It has so many default tools, e.g. parallel line, angle bisector, tangent to the circle, inscribed and circumscribed circles, etc. But I want the ...
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1answer
149 views

Describing the impossibility of trisecting the angle to high school students.

Does anyone have an idea on whether it would be possible to present the proof of the impossibility of trisecting the angle (or doubling the cube, for example) in order to demonstrate the power of ...
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3answers
398 views

Practical context for a quadratic equation with negative discriminant.

I'm looking for practical questions that lead to quadratic equations with negative discriminant. The pupils involved are 16 years old and technically educated. Abstract mathematic questions are ...
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1answer
120 views

Fair Division: Making the Differences in Players' Valuations Believable

When teaching basic fair division algorithms, the students always propose some simple and (at the first glance) correct solutions for $n$ players, which unfortunately are not correct! The only way I ...
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4answers
357 views

Hilbert's Hotel and Infinities for Pre-university Students

Hilbert's paradox of the grand hotel is a fun and exciting ground to base a talk on the set theoretic concept of infinity for interested students - even in middle- and high school. However, it does ...
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1answer
285 views

Learning Mathematics in a Second Language

My first language is English, and since all of my formal education has been undertaken in the USA, I have learned mathematics entirely in the English language. However, I have spent a fair amount of ...
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2answers
1k views

Prison problem: locking or unlocking every $n$th door for $ n=1,2,3,…$

I have a problem called "The Prison Problem" that I need to explain to my 9-year-old cousin. I would think that he has just started learning about divisors and perfect squares, and as such, I have a ...
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4answers
491 views

What's the deal with integration?

So at uni we learned tricks and techniques for integration until cows came home. But to what end? Any/All definite integrals can be evaluated using numerical methods. Most integrals in application can ...
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1answer
119 views

Are Parabolas similar intuitively?

All parabolas are similar, but are they all similar in that it is just a question of 'zooming in and out' intuitively speaking? It seems that there should therefore be on all parabolas a curve from ...
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2answers
623 views

Good at abstractions bad with numbers

Ever since I had an interest in math I was aware that what I'm good at and what really pulled me was the abstract thinking. My intuition for even the simplest number related concepts (modulo ...
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0answers
84 views

A question on mathematical writing.

One of the problems I am grading this week is as follows: Given a simply connected bounded domain $\Omega$ on $\mathbb{R}^{2}$, prove that there exist a line that separates it into two parts of equal ...
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1answer
420 views

Basic Fourier Series Question

Let $f$ be a $2π$ periodic function where $$f(x) = \frac{π - x}2$$ over $[0, π]$. It is known that the Fourier series of $f$ is $$\sum_{n=1}^{\infty}\frac{\sin nx}n$$ At which points in $[-π, π]$ ...
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3answers
118 views

Mean Value Theorem Motivation

I am currently practicing presenting mathematics to various audiences and am considering the example of the mean value theorem. I was wondering how would I be able to motivate this theorem to a ...
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1answer
249 views

Motivations for Prime Factorizaton

I'm at the beginning of some middle school math sessions on divisors, gcd, lcm, and prime numbers. It's the first place in the curriculum that the students encounter the three latter concepts ...
2
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2answers
125 views

Pre Algebra Text book or online

I have a kid who just started middle school. I would like to introduce them to pre algebra. I would like her to know the fundamental concepts. Just like "What is mathematics" book, if there is a book ...
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3answers
36 views

significant figure representation?

I was wondering: Why does $1.30 \times 10^3$ have $3$ significant figures while $1300$ has $2$ significant figures (they are both the same number) Why is that distinction ? When should I use ...
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1answer
680 views

Learning Math Efficienctly and Succeeding in Grad School

I'm currently a second year Ph.D. student studying pure math. I've recently come to the conclusion that I must be studying wrong. Actually, more to the point, I must be thinking about mathematics ...
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3answers
1k views

Minimizing perimeter given rectangle's area for 10-years-olds

I was recently in touch with some person from Russia how is busy with books for Russian elementary schools, in particularly I learned that now they give elementary set theory for the 2nd grade ...
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4answers
591 views

Is $\tan\theta\cos\theta=\sin\theta$ an identity?

A friend of mine, who is a high school teacher, called me today and asked the question above in the title. In an abstract setting, this boils down to asking whether an expression like "$f=g$" is ...
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2answers
504 views

Why do we want probabilities to be *countably* additive?

In probability theory, it is (as far as I am aware) universal to equate "probability" with a probabilistic measure in the sense of measure theory (possibly a particularly well behaved measure, but ...
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2answers
2k views

Explaining Hypercomplex numbers to Children.

Imagine a highschool freshman walks up to you and asks you what hypercomplex numbers are. Explain to her, in a fair amount of detail, the different types of hypercomplex numbers in a way that any ...
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3answers
310 views

Roadway and book recommendations to math study.

I had some calculus, linear algebra and complex analysis courses back in college. But it is not comprehensive. And I felt that my college math was not taught in a logical sequence (maybe because my ...
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0answers
503 views

What are some good ideas in teaching combinations and permutations

I am a student teacher trying to brainstorm some effective lesson plans for combinations and permutations for a high school statistics course. My master teacher has decided that he will introduce ...
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1answer
133 views

Why do we need primitive roots?

What is the most motivating way to introduce the order of a modulo n? Apart from simplifying powers of residues is there any other use of the order? Are there any examples which have a real impact on ...
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1answer
450 views

Parabola & Area Proving (Integral)

This is not a homework question. I am a new teacher (just graduated) and a student asked me this question. The points $A(3,9)$ and $B(-2,4)$ lie on the parabola $y=x^2.$ The line $y=x+6$ joins $A$ ...
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0answers
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What are some strong algebraic number theory PhD programs? [closed]

I am currently applying for PhD programs in the US. My main interests are number theory and algebra. More specifically, I am interested in algebraic number theory (number fields, Galois groups, ...
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0answers
193 views

Help in mathematical combinatorics.

Hi guys I am studying for my exam which is in a few hours and I ran into two past exam problems. Questions: 1) how many 7 letter sequence you can make with a,b,c such that there is at least one b ...
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0answers
204 views

About the raised negative sign in some basic textbooks

In a math document recently (a UK A level test paper from the EdExcel board), I noticed that the negative/minus sign was raised and aligned to the top of the number. I'm interested to know whether ...
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0answers
66 views

Who made now part of the problem?

Who came up with the meme of putting the current year as a four digit number into exercise problems? Is there a known first historical account?
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20answers
3k views

Good math bed-time stories for children?

What are some good references/books/articles from which to derive some good bed-time math stories to pique a child's interest in math? I am fascinated by math (used to hate it as a kid) and want my ...
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0answers
609 views

The NES mathematics accreditation test

I have to take the NES mathematics test to get accreditation as a High School teacher to become highly qualified to teach mathematics. I have a PhD in physics so I thought that I wouldn't have to ...
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3answers
55 views

Commutativity or Distributivity - Which One to Use to DEFINE Multiplication of Negative Numbers?

It's easy to calculate $3 \times (-4)$, using the meaning of multiplication: $3 \times (-4)=(-4)+(-4)+(-4)=-12$. But it's not the case about $(-4)\times 3$! To DEFINE $(-4)\times 3$ we can choose ...
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1answer
283 views

Book about Tensor Product of Vector Spaces

This subject is very commun for any book about modules. However, some undergraduate majors have Linear Algebra course before the Abstract Algebra one (where we treat about modules) and it is not ...
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22answers
8k views

Is math built on assumptions?

I just came across this statement when I was lecturing a student on math and strictly speaking I used: Assuming that the value of $x$ equals <something>, ... One of my students just rose ...
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2answers
113 views

A Good Example of an Argument That Cannot Be Reversed

My students are having a hard time with assuming what they must prove. A good example of what they are doing is when one wishes to show that $\lim_{x\to 3}(2x+1)=7$. They will assume that ...
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1answer
404 views

Are Base Ten Logarithms Relics?

Just interested in your thoughts regarding the contention that the pre-eminence of base ten logarithms is a relic from pre-calculator days. Firstly I understand that finding the (base-10) ...
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1answer
217 views

What is the rank of the differentiation operator on Pn? What is the kernel?

For this question I was thinking of saying Pn(x)=Ax^n+Ax^(n-1)+...+Ax^2+Ax^1+1 and finding the first derivative P'n(x)=n.Ax^(n-1)+(n-1)Ax^(n-2)+...+2Ax^1+A+0 so in matrix form would get a n by 1 ...
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14answers
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Are all mathematicians human calculators?

I asked my dad why he did not major in math he said "because he is not good at math". I think I like math, and I think I'm ok at it, but I'm not gifted or anything like that, I just like math. I think ...
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2answers
225 views

Recommendation for learning math [duplicate]

I'm in the 11th grade. At the bachelor exam, my main focus will be on mathematics and informatics. I'm a hard working man, but due to the school norms, I can consider myself idiot at math. Why? ...
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4answers
2k views

How to explain why a parabola opens up or down

I am being ask to explain in 2 ways why is it that y=ax^2+bx+c parabola opens up if a is positive and why is it that y=ax^2+bx+c opens down when a is negative. One of the explanations has to be ...
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3answers
220 views

What is the best way to solve this high school exercise?

Can you share with me how would you best solve this exersise to a high school student? Show that $f(x)=x^2-6x+2$ , $x\in(-\infty,3]$ is $1-1$ and find its inverse.
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1answer
108 views

How to document undergrad math knowledge?

If you did a degree which is low on math (read economics, psychology), but want to proceed to a more mathematically loaded master, how would you document your knowledge? Are there standarized ...
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0answers
151 views

Why to Use the Same Sign for Minus and Negative?

Using the same symbol for two different concepts may cause confusion. So if one decides to do so, they should justify this choice by showing its advantages over other choices. What about the minus ...
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3answers
131 views

How to show $\Bbb R$ is Archimedean?

Suppose $X$ is a real number such that $X > 0$. We want to show there exists and $n \in \mathbb{N}$ such that $X \geq \frac{1}{n} $. MY attempt: If $X < \frac{1}{n} \; \; \; \forall n $ then $X ...
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1answer
223 views

Is the computer changing the way we teach and learn math in schools?

Back in school, what I got taught during school was labeled 'math', but it was actually 'rote arithmetics.' This seems to also be the case of many other people. Some came to hate it and never came ...
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1answer
257 views

What are the big ideas needed to develop conceptual understanding of fractions?

In order to be able to perform arithmetic on fractions, students need to understand what fractions are and how they operate. Just teaching rules (e.g. "to add fractions you must have common ...
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3answers
155 views

Derivative in interesting way

I am supposed to give a 15-20 minutes math lecture, where I am expecting around 20-30 people. The lecture is about derivative. Since this would be my first "class", I would appreciate any suggestions ...