Questions related to the teaching and learning of mathematics.

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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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3answers
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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 ...
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5answers
6k views

Which calculus text should I use for self-study?

I am 36 years old, and have forgotten a lot of math from high school, of which I only took up to Algebra 2. However I am teaching myself mathematics and am now, as an adult, completely fascinated ...
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3answers
250 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
179 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 ...
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4answers
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Self-Paced Graduate Math Courses for Independent Study

Does anyone know of any graduate math courses that are self-paced, for independent study? I am a high school math teacher at a charter school in Texas. While I am quite happy with where I am right ...
9
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1answer
513 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 ...
9
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1answer
139 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
128 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. ...
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1answer
224 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
274 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
206 views

Journals or Magazines on Study Skills or How to Study Math

I am trying to find only journals or trustworthy magazines which can help math students to study math more efficiently and productively. I am not asking about books in this thread. In particular, I am ...
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1answer
61 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 ...
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5answers
182 views

The use for solving quadradic equations for high school students

I have a little brother who is in high school and he just learnt the quadratic formula for finding roots of second degree polynomials. He asked me what why we learn this and how this could apply to a ...
9
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1answer
128 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 ...
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0answers
133 views

How much math is there?

Among other things I teach high school-level math, and one question that often comes up is: "How long would I have to study math in order to know all of it?" I usually tell them that it's like ...
8
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5answers
290 views

Why does $n^0 = 1$?

Why is it that $n^0 = 1$? I understand how $n^2 = n*n$ and how $n^1 = n$ but I can't understand why $n^0 = 1$.
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5answers
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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 ...
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6answers
986 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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4answers
732 views

How To Reach The “Next Level” of Mathematics

I am a junior-high pre-algebra student. I feel that my class is holding me back, so I wanted to learn "higher-level math". So what should I learn now? What do you believe is a "next step"?
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4answers
327 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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8answers
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Where to go after calculus?

Ok this is a bit of an unanswerable question, but hopefully someone will answer. As I have been going through college & high school there has been a kind of "path" through which you learn math. ...
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7answers
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Educational Math Software

What is the the most educational software for high school and college math? Not the one that just gives you the answer, but has any of the following: Edit: Software mentioned in answer added in ...
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3answers
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Why is 1 raised to infinity Not defined and not “1” [duplicate]

$1$ square is $1$, so is raised $1$ to $123434234$. My maths teacher claims that $1$ raised to infinity is not $1$, but not defined. Is there any reason for this? I know that any number raised to ...
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Reviews/comparison of Python vs Matlab for teaching Linear Algebra

I am wondering about advantages of using Python for teaching introductory linear algebra. I have been using Matlab and I became interested in Python mainly because of several resources, e.g., ...
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3answers
581 views

Which of these courses to take if one intends to go to grad school in pure math (rank please)

could you rank these classes in terms of necessity to take if I intend to pursue a Ph.D in pure math? I don't know if I can fit everything, but I want to make sure I take the most important ones: ...
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742 views

What is the probability that GCD of $(a,b)$ is $b$?

My question is quite simple. I have been googling a lot lately trying to find a solution to this: Given a sequence of n integers $[1,2,...,n]$. If we pick two numbers randomly from the set say, a and ...
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4answers
404 views

Is there any good reason why a protractor starts from right to left, unlike a scale, which starts from left to right?

While studying through the number system, i notice that positive side is from 0 to +ve infinity. The direction is left to right. However, this is opposite in case of angles. The sort of curved number ...
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1answer
208 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, ...
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3answers
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Difficulties with Chapter 2 in Rudin

I have been reading Rudin (Principles of Mathematical Analysis) on my own now for around a month or so. While I was able to complete the first chapter without any difficulty, I am having problems ...
8
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2answers
479 views

Strengthening My Foundation in Mathematics

"For every equation you introduce, you cut your audience in half." This expression, which I believe came from Stephen Hawking, summarizes why I believe that I have a weak foundation in ...
8
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2answers
233 views

How are more difficult proofs discovered?

Are there any resources that show how are the various proofs of important theorems in mathematics are invented? I don't understand how can anyone come up with this method for proof for example. I want ...
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2answers
192 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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5answers
263 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 ...
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2answers
491 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 ...
8
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2answers
335 views

Outline and Goals of a One-Year Calculus Sequence

Our department is considering restructuring our traditional three semester calculus sequence so that the calculus requirement for our majors is satisfied in two semesters. Does your department ...
8
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1answer
228 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 ...
8
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1answer
177 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 ...
8
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1answer
122 views

Proof vs Practice

I've been brushing up on a lot of basic arithmetic, algebra, and logic as I work towards a review of calculus (and beyond), and I keep noticing that in order to fully understand many principles in the ...
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0answers
334 views

Is it possible to learn mathematics right from the source instead of reading textbooks. By studying the masters and not their pupils

i was wondering if mathematics learning process require the use of textbooks. When i was a high school student, i read as a preparation for university, Legendre book on Elements of geometry and ...
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11answers
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Good examples for mathemathical problems/statements that are easely solvable/provable in one theory and hard to solve/prove in another

Let $P$ be a mathematical statement or a mathematical problem. I am looking for a couple of nice examples for $P$ that satisfy the following criteria: Given two (or more) mathematical points of view ...
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950 views

How can I convince my math teacher?

Ok, so I got an answer wrong on my exam because my teacher says that the function $f(x)=\frac{(x+2)x}{x+2}=x$ but I insist that it isn't defined for x=-2. If it was then $\frac{x}{x}=1$ for all reals ...
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5answers
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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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3answers
727 views

Masters' thesis in group theory [closed]

I would like some ideas on topics in group theory which would be suitable for a masters' thesis. What sort of problems would be suitable for this level? Because it is at masters' level, no original ...
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5answers
309 views

Simplest error detecting/correcting codes for math newbies

Suppose you have been given the task of teaching some basic coding theory to folks who are interested in math but have not taken algebra, number theory, etc. If you want to introduce codes, you might ...
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4answers
619 views

How to convince a high school student that differentials don't work like fractions in general?

It all started when I tried to convince a 10th grader that if $f$ is a function defined on $\mathbb{R}^n$ the differential is defined by: $\large \displaystyle df = ...
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4answers
739 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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
401 views

Mathematics Style Guide - l vs 1 vs |

I had a quick look around here and google before, and didn't find any answer to this particular question, and it's beginning to really irritate me now, so I'm asking here: How is one supposed to ...
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6answers
338 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. ...