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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Complete undergraduate bundle-pack [closed]

First of all I'm sorry if this is not the right place to post this. I like math a lot. But I'm not sure if i want to do a math major in college. My question is: Can you give me a list of books that ...
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11answers
2k views

Puzzles or short exercises illustrating mathematical problem solving to freshman students

At high school, the solution method to almost all mathematical exercises is to apply some technique or algorithm you have learned before. At the university, the situation is fundamentally different. ...
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7answers
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How to study for analysis?

I am currently a first year undergraduate majoring in mathematics. I'm taking an introductory analysis course and find it very hard compared to other math couses. I know that the topics covered in the ...
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8answers
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I'm teaching a college geometry course. What should I cover?

I've been asked to teach "Foundations of Geometry" at the University of South Carolina. Apparently, professors in the past have all done very different things, and I have a lot of choice in the ...
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6answers
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Mathematics - The big picture

My knowledge in math sums up to several university level courses and a lot of self-study. Sometimes it feels like Mathematics is a huge subject with a lot of different areas which some of them ...
23
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6answers
8k views

Teaching a 4 year old maths

Im 18 years old and getting to grips with advanced mathematics (pre-university) and I have a younger brother of 4 years old (quite an age gap). I want to get him interested in learning (and away from ...
23
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6answers
623 views

Open source lecture notes and textbooks

This question is inspired by the popular "Best Sets of Lecture Notes and Articles". Indeed, I would like to collect a "big-list" of open source (that is, with $\LaTeX$ code available) high-quality ...
23
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1answer
519 views

How much math education was typical in the 18th & 19th century?

Was it unusual for people in those days to learn Calculus? Could a grad student take a course in differential equations or multi-variable Calculus, or did they have to learn from journals? I am always ...
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2answers
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Books to study for Math GRE, self-study, have some time.

I just graduated from a regional university in the US with a minor in mathematics. There is a masters program overseas, for economics, that I want to attend but they require applicants to take the ...
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2answers
583 views

Collections of undergraduate research projects

I would like to compile a "big list" of undergraduate research projects in the following areas of mathematics: calculus; analysis; abstract algebra; linear algebra; number theory; geometry; ...
21
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4answers
1k views

How to respond to “solve this equation” in a basic algebra class

If it's acceptable practice on math.se, I'd like to really only ask this question of math educators as opposed to students or mathematical researchers. Some researchers will undoubtedly think the ...
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16answers
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An example for a calculation where imaginary numbers are used but don't occur in the question or the solution.

In a presentation I will have to give an account of Hilbert's concept of real and ideal mathematics. Hilbert wrote in his treatise "Über das Unendliche" (page 14, second paragraph. Here is an English ...
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7answers
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Why do introductory real analysis courses teach bottom up?

A big part of introductory real analysis courses is getting intuition for the $\epsilon-\delta$ proofs. For example, these types of proofs come up a lot when studying differentiation, continuity, and ...
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4answers
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Is all of mathematics based on logic?

I do not understand the discipline in mathematics that is called "mathematical logic". For me, all of mathematics is based on logic and that is what makes it the exact science. Every theorem or lemma ...
20
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5answers
895 views

$\epsilon, \delta$…So what?

Over the course of my studies I often encounter phrases in reference material of the type "and this avoids the need for using $\epsilon$, $\delta$ definitions" or "by this we can omit those ...
20
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4answers
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Bridging any “gaps” between AP Calculus and College/Univ level Calculus II

I've been asked to tutor a soon-to-be college freshman who has taken AP Calculus and successfully earned college credit for first semester calculus. He has been admitted to an Engineering program, ...
20
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11answers
9k views

3D software like GeoGebra

Does it exist a free interactive geometry software, like GeoGebra, which works for 3D geometry? I would be able to draw spheres, great circles, and so on.
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3answers
2k views

Research Experience for Undergraduates: Summer Programs (that accept non-American applicants)

There are many summer research programs in the United States, targeted at good motivated undergraduate students majoring in mathematics. The main aspects that characterize such programs are: (a) a ...
20
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1answer
625 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 ...
20
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0answers
3k views

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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8answers
2k views

How do authors make their problems/exercises for their math books? [closed]

I want to be a math professor one day, but I'm wondering how to make my own original problems to give them to my students. I think that it is a responsibility of the professor to create original and ...
19
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9answers
1k views

Should a high school introductory calculus class teach $\varepsilon$-$\delta$ proofs?

It seems to me that most high school students are comfortable with the intuitive notion of a limit ("as $x$ gets arbitrarily close to $c$, $f(x)$ gets arbitrarily close to $L$") and gain little ...
19
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8answers
12k views

Online Math Degree Programs

Are there any real online mathematics (applied math, statistics, ...) degree programs out there? I'm full-time employed, thus not having the flexibility of attending an on campus program. I also ...
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8answers
1k views

When is something “obvious”?

I try to be a good student but I often find it hard to know when something is "obvious" and when it isn't. Obviously (excuse the pun) I understand that it is specific to the level at which the writer ...
18
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16answers
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Explaining Horizontal Shifting and Scaling

I always find myself wanting for a clear explanation (to a college algebra student) for the fact that horizontal transformations of graphs work in the opposite way that one might expect. For example, ...
18
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5answers
933 views

Elementary problems with group theoretic solutions

I am helping a friend develop a course in abstract algebra that is designed for high school students who have no knowledge of abstract algebra or any real exposure to formally rigorous mathematics. To ...
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7answers
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Definition of definition

I was wondering if there is a good way to "define" what definition means exactly in mathematics. Since the answers may be subjective or philosophical, I want to ask only for references on this topic. ...
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3answers
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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 ...
18
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3answers
1k views

“Best practice” innovative teaching in mathematics

Our department is currently revamping our first-year courses in mathematics, which are huge classes (about 500+ students) that are mostly students who will continue on to Engineering. The existing ...
18
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5answers
668 views

Big list of serious but fun “unusual” books

I would like to have some suggestions about serious (that is, with good mathematical content) but fun books that cover topics (or propose problems) in "recreational mathematics"; in any other field ...
18
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1answer
5k views

Strange old multiplication table

Today I read an article about chalk boards from 1917 discovered in an Oklahoma school. One of the chalkboards included the following curious image: (Oklahoma City Public Schools) The article ...
18
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1answer
615 views

Which universities teach true infinitesimal calculus?

My colleague and I are currently teaching "true infinitesimal calculus" (TIC), in the sense of calculus with infinitesimals, to a class of about 120 freshmen at our university, based on the book by ...
18
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0answers
3k views

GRE past papers

As it is required for most students who wish to do a Ph.D in maths in the US to sit the GRE subject specific mathematics exam, I hope this question will be of interest to the mathematical community ...
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4answers
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Why do we need to learn Set Theory?

I was planning to write some article for the Mathematics magazine of our college and it occurred to me that it will be a good idea to write about the impact and importance of Set Theory. I plan ...
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6answers
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What does Khan Academy have to offer? Depth? Rigor?

Khan Academy - http://www.khanacademy.org/ - is often cited as a great online resource for learning mathematics and other subjects. I have heard many good things about this website and was wondering ...
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9answers
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Motivating infinite series

What are some good ways to motivate the material on infinite series that appears at the end of a typical American Calculus II course? My students in this course are generally from biochemistry, ...
17
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7answers
6k views

How to show every subgroup of a cyclic group is cyclic?

I'm teaching a group theory course now, and I wanted to give my students a proof that every subgroup of a cyclic group is cyclic. The easiest way I could think to do this is to say that any cyclic ...
17
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6answers
4k views

How to go from beginner to expert in mathematics?

I'm particularly interested in knowing the order of subjects one should study to become good in mathematics. In my not so great knowledge of the subject I would say that the best place to start could ...
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6answers
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Why is the definition of “limit” difficult to understand at first?

Tomorrow I teach my students about limits of sequences. I have heard that the definition of limit is often difficult for students to understand, and I want to make it easier. But first I need to ...
17
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8answers
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Undergraduate Research Thesis

1. General background information ★ At my university [whose name I will omit] the following practices are customary: ● During their third year of study, students have approximately $4$ ...
17
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5answers
2k views

Is the golden ratio overrated? [closed]

While reading many sources and watching many video's about nature and physics I wonder if the golden ratio is really that often occurring in nature and physics ? If I look on the Wikipedia pages I see ...
17
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5answers
943 views

Alternative set theories

This is a (soft!) question for students of set theory and their teachers. OK: ZFC is the canonical set theory we all know and love. But what other, alternative set theories, should a serious student ...
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4answers
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Common student mistakes/misconceptions in a first year calculus course

What are the common mistakes and misconceptions students make in a first year calculus course? More importantly: What can I do to prevent/rectify them? Context: Soon I will be doing ...
17
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7answers
778 views

Exciting games and material to motivate children to math

We are a group of people trying to motivate children, especially living in the countryside, to science and math. We have different activities with children such as doing scientific experiments and ...
17
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5answers
969 views

Fun math outreach/social activities

What are some great math social activities for students? I'm looking for things that bring people together with a "light" mathematical touch. The goal is to create a stronger mathematical community in ...
17
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4answers
1k views

Grasping mathematics

First, I'm not trying to make this sound like a "poor-me" story. I understand fully that every decision I've made leading to this is my fault. I am genuinely looking for advice. So, I am a high ...
17
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2answers
505 views

High school algebra textbooks for gifted students

Cross-posted to Math Educators Stack Exchange. (link) I am looking for high school algebra/mathematics textbooks targeted at talented students, as preparation for fully rigorous calculus à la Spivak. ...
17
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5answers
608 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 ...
16
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10answers
519 views

$2\times2$ matrices are not big enough

Olga Tausky-Todd had once said that "If an assertion about matrices is false, there is usually a 2x2 matrix that reveals this." There are, however, assertions about matrices that are true for ...
16
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3answers
284 views

Is$\frac{\sqrt{a}}{\sqrt{b}}$ the same as $\sqrt{\frac{a}{b}}$?

My idea is that the two functions are not the same since for the first function, the domain of the function is only non negative reals for the numerator and positive reals for the denominator. ...