Questions related to the teaching and learning of mathematics.

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4answers
780 views

Best way of introducing determinants in a linear algebra course

What is the best way of introducing determinants in a linear algebra course? I want to give real life examples of where the determinant is applied. It should have a real impact.
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4answers
4k views

Is “locally linear” an appropriate description of a differentiable function?

In this answer on meta, Pete L. Clark said: I think the question concerns the idea that a differentiable curve becomes more and more like a straight line segment the closer one zooms in on its ...
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7answers
2k views

What should the high school math curriculum consist of?

"Life is open book." With the advent of widely accessible, inexpensive (or even free) computational tools and Computer Algebra Systems (TI-89, Wolfram|Alpha, etc.), much of what traditionally ...
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9answers
938 views

Sources of problems for teaching/tutoring young mathematicians

I am tutoring several talented students, middle school level and early high school level, in mathematics. I am always looking for new sources from which to draw questions. Can anyone recommend books, ...
11
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6answers
960 views

Am I just bad at math? [closed]

I currently pursuing a degree in computer science. When I started back 4 years ago, I took a test to see how I would place into certain subjects. My math scores were absolutely horrible. I started ...
11
votes
3answers
451 views

Popular general-interest math courses

I'm hoping the userbase here doesn't mind if I do a little crowd-sourcing. I'm curious to find out about popular general-interest mathematics or statistics classes that are offered universities that ...
11
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4answers
305 views

Should the domain of a function be inferred?

It is a common practice to have students of elementary algebra infer the domain of a function as an exercise. I believe this is contrary to the spirit of the definition of a function as a collection ...
11
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1answer
303 views

How often should math students take day breaks and longer breaks or vacations? Any research?

John Edensor Littlewood wrote in page 197 of Littlewood's Miscellany "For a week without teaching duties - and here I think I am preaching to the converted - I believe in on afternoon and the ...
11
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1answer
224 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}} ...
11
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3answers
449 views

A question from an engineering undergraduate

My question primarily concerns the necessary transition from an undergraduate program in electrical engineering to graduate program in applied mathematics or pure mathematics. I'm an electrical ...
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14answers
2k views

False beliefs in mathematics (conceptual errors made despite, or because of, mathematical education)

Over on mathoverflow, there is a popular CW question titled: Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics. I thought it would be nice to have a parallel question on this site to serve as a ...
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5answers
2k views

Common misconceptions about math

YARFMO (Yet another reposting from Mathoverflow) ;-) The more you know about math the more you find conceptions previously thought correct to be false: 1.) math is not as exact as many believe - in ...
10
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7answers
10k views

practical uses of matrix multiplication

The use of matrix multiplication is usually given with graphics initially (scalings, translations, rotations, etc). Then there are more in-depth examples such as counting the number of walks between ...
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4answers
889 views

Is there a more efficient method of trig mastery than rote memorization?

I would like to get alot better at trig than I am. What is the best/most efficient method? Thanks much in advance Joe
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2answers
829 views

Success in maths (soft question)

I would really like to hear from any professional mathematicians who didn't just sail through their university education. If one looks at the pages of many of today's mathematicians, one finds that ...
10
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9answers
1k views

A Poster About Prime Numbers [closed]

We're going to design a poster about prime numbers, which will appear in a mathematics magazine for middle school students. The poster should be both visually attractive and mathematically rich. Do ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Should I try to change the way Abstract Algebra is taught at my university? If so, how?

[This (soft) question should be Community Wiki.] Background: A year ago, I did a one-semester long course on Abstract Algebra at my university. When we started, I was excited, because I knew the ...
10
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4answers
866 views

Why would you expand a square wave in a Fourier series?

The periodic square wave $$ f(x) = \cases{ 1 \text{ if } 0 \le x \le \pi \\ 0 \text { if } -\pi \le x < 0} $$ seems easy enough to work with. Why transform it into a series of sines and cosines? ...
10
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4answers
684 views

Recommended survey of mathematics [closed]

What do you see as the most explanatory and beautiful survey of mathematics book...For short is there a book like Feynman lectures but for math?I've looked at Elementary Mathematics from an Advanced ...
10
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5answers
3k views

Motivating linear algebra for economics students?

I'm a tutor for the introductory linear algebra course at my school; this course is required for most upper division economics classes, so a lot of my tutees are economics majors. This is a typical ...
10
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4answers
457 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 ...
10
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6answers
237 views

When the approximation $\pi\simeq 3.14$ is NOT sufficent

It's common at schools to use $3.14$ as an appropriate approximation of $\pi$. However, here it's stated that for some purposes, $\pi$ should be approximated to $32$ decimal places. I need an example ...
10
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1answer
573 views

Undergrad Student Trying to Figure Out What to Study

this is my first time on stack exchange and I am seeking advice for my future studies. Some background first; I am a undergraduate student pursuing a degree in mathematics and I hope to pursue ...
10
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5answers
320 views

High-School Level Introduction to Dynamical Systems

In one month I'll be giving a talk to motivated high schools students on a topic of my choice from dynamical systems and/or ergodic theory. I'm having trouble coming up with a topic compelling enough ...
10
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2answers
566 views

Is “problem solving” a subject to be taught?

Note: This question has been cross-posted to MathOverflow: see here. I am witnessing a new curriculum change in my country (Iran). It includes the change of all the mathematics textbooks at all ...
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2answers
224 views

How to introduce category theory to a high school audience?

I am a mathematician with background in Category Theory. I have been asked to give a 20 minute talk about my area of research to an audience of talented high school students and school mathematicians ...
10
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1answer
235 views

How to Self-Study Mathematical Methods?

Edit: Ok, user Chinny84 made comment that truly helps narrow the focus of my question. Basically, I'm asking for a self-study course of Mathematical Methods. Thanks to his recommendation I ...
10
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1answer
149 views

Is there any curriculum based on recreational mathematics?

I'm a high school physics teacher. Next year, I'll be teaching mathematics for middle school students so I was wondering if there's a curriculum based on recreational mathematics which not only ...
10
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0answers
340 views

How to be a bird

Freeman Dyson has famously characterized two styles of mathematics, that of the bird and that of the frog. I was asked recently the following question, which I don't know how to answer: If, in ...
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6answers
2k views

Should I do all the exercises in a textbook?

The problem sets that you usually get in a university course is a small fraction of the exercises in your textbook. Which raises a question: do you need to solve all the exercises from your textbook? ...
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5answers
2k views

Mathematics, Philosophy and writing.

Do you know of any famous mathematicians who were also philosophers? I have heard of Descartes, Plato and Leibniz. Are there other good examples, especially more modern examples? Also welcome are ...
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4answers
564 views

Middle school number theory

Find at least three numbers that satisfy all three conditions: (1) there is a remainder of $1$ when the number is divided by $2$; (2) there is a remainder of $2$ when the number is divided by $3$; ...
9
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2answers
430 views

How to explain the commutativity of multiplication to middle school students?

It's easy for natural numbers: $3\times 5=5\times 3$ ***** ***** ***** but how do you explain that $x.y=y.x$ for any real numbers $x$ and $y$. Moreover, in $\Bbb{N}$, do you prefer to define ...
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6answers
2k views

What is the best base to use?

When I typed this question in google I found this link: http://octomatics.org/ Just from the graphic point of view: this system seems to be easier (when he explains that you can overlap the line). He ...
9
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2answers
540 views

Is there any way to read articles without subscription?

This is not mathematician question but I think it's related. How I can get access to some of "Software: Practice and Experience" articles without subscription? Any advice is welcome. Sorry if I'm ...
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6answers
436 views

Evaluating the reception of (epsilon, delta) definitions

There is much discussion both in the education community and the mathematics community concerning the challenge of (epsilon, delta) type definitions in real analysis and the student reception of it. ...
9
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3answers
2k views

how to explain prime numbers to children

My little cousin (12year) asked me about how emails are encrypted and I want to answers her in such a way she understands it. This is diffuct, but I am happy with teaching the definition of a prime ...
9
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4answers
1k views

Learning math: still paper and pen

Is it, from an educational perspective, still sound advice to recommend people to use paper/a notebook (of the traditional sort, not the device) and pen/pencil? I wonder if computers are a ...
9
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1answer
273 views

Darboux's Integral vs. the “High School” Integral

The definition of the integral below is what I usually call the "High School definition," because that's usually where I've seen it in use. Take a partition $\Delta = \{ x_0, x_1, x_2, \ldots, ...
9
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3answers
306 views

Links to Online Videos of Good-Quality Lectures by Mathematicians

I am not trying to do anything new here, but I would like to start an activity that has been going on at Math Overflow. Hopefully, people here at the Math StackExchange can also enjoy the good stuff. ...
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6answers
2k 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 ...
9
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2answers
191 views

Good Reference for Justifying (less well-known fields of) Math?

How do we as mathematicians justify the study of math to students? Or, indeed, how do we justify it to the general public? How do you justify your particular field? I'm particularly interested in ...
9
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2answers
514 views

How to assess a non-natively english speaking high-schooler's mathematical ability?

I'm a math PhD who has been asked to interview a high school student and determine what he/she is interested in and how strong the student is. Usually I would want them to talk as much as possible ...
9
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3answers
134 views

Video Lessons in Complex Analysis

Does anybody have some link for good video lessons of a complete course in Complex Analysis? Grateful.
9
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1answer
168 views

A graph of all of mathematics

In mathematics, one often makes (proves) statements on the basis of: Previously proven statements Axioms I like to think of these dependencies as a directed graph, with edges from the accepted ...
9
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1answer
139 views

How and what to teach on a first year elementary number theory course?

In the late 80’s and early 90’s there was the idea of ‘calculus reform’ and some emphasis and syllabus changed. The order of doing things in calculus also changed with the advantage of technology. ...
9
votes
1answer
265 views

General question: What one can do to help students one is grading?

Due to unknown reason I was assigned as a grader this semester for a certain proof writing class in my universtiy. The class size is 65 and students took it usually comes from a computer science ...
9
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1answer
372 views

Where can I find the 1960s New Math syllabus?

I've been looking everywhere for even a short summary of the content of the 1960s New Mathematics Math education reform in the US but I cannot ;-; Does anyone know?
9
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1answer
254 views

Publishing mathematics

How or where does one express work they've done to others? What does it mean formally to 'publish' mathematical work you've done? How do you know if your work is any good? Or if someone has already ...
9
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1answer
83 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 ...