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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6
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2answers
69 views

How to improve concentration when beginning to work on a math problem that seems boring?

I am a college student and my current situation is that I have an extremely hard time getting myself to start doing math. I feel like math is 'boring,' but ONLY until I start actually doing it. Once I ...
3
votes
1answer
133 views

Studying for analysis- advice

I find that studying for analysis is unlike other math classes that I've taken. I dedicate a lot of time to studying for it, but it seems like no matter how much time I put into it I am not getting ...
6
votes
1answer
184 views

How was real analysis & topology taught in the 70's?

What was the 'gold standard' textbook before Rudin? Furthermore, if anyone has knowledge of what textbooks Princeton or Harvard used back in the 1960's or 70's, I would highly appreciate it if you ...
5
votes
1answer
71 views

Is a thorough study of algorithms useful for a mathematician?

In my university, there is a core course called "basics computer science for mathematicians". The topics covered range from algorithms, to the bases of programming, to theory of computability. The ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

math classes to take for path

I have taken: Calc 1, 2, & 3, Introduction to Discrete Math, and Introduction to Statistics. The maths I learn I wish to be most applicable to programming (any kind of programming, game, physics, ...
6
votes
5answers
339 views

Topic for a lecture intended for High School students [duplicate]

I am not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here is the situation. In about two weeks or so I will be giving a 2-3 hours lecture on some topic in mathematics to freshman and sophomore ...
74
votes
5answers
3k views

“Advice to young mathematicians”

I have been suggested to read the Advice to a Young Mathematician section of the Princeton Companion to Mathematics, the short paper Ten Lessons I wish I had been Taught by Gian-Carlo Rota, and the ...
2
votes
14answers
790 views

Interesting piece of math for high school students? [closed]

I'm giving an hour long lecture to high school math students with a fairly high aptitude in math. I want to present something a little advanced for them (undergrad level) that they have to struggle ...
11
votes
3answers
142 views

Can you recommend a book to learn to teach math to a child?

I am looking for a book which contains some ideas on introducing a child to mathematics. I am not particularly looking for a textbook to be used as part of the teaching (though feel free to mention ...
2
votes
0answers
69 views

How to decide which theorems from textbook to prove

I've noticed that theorems in textbooks roughly come in two varieties: those that are worth trying to prove yourself, and those that aren't. I'm not going to try and give criteria for "worth trying" ...
1
vote
1answer
106 views

Basic examples of probabilistic method

I'm looking for a truly basic example of probabilistic method proof which could be presented without a board (i.e. speaking only), that is, even moderately complicated calculations are not allowed. ...
3
votes
1answer
212 views

Advice for Math Majors -What to do if you come into college with a lot of college credit? [closed]

In high school I was a good maths student and took AP Calculus BC my freshman year and got a 5 and then took Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Introduction to ...
4
votes
2answers
136 views

where to start if you lack basics? [closed]

I've joined this forum for few weeks now and it amazes me that so many people are good at math. For me, I'm more of a history person rather than math person, so I hated math since I was young, not ...
9
votes
3answers
268 views

Video Lessons in Complex Analysis

Does anybody have some link for good video lessons of a complete course in Complex Analysis? Grateful.
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Undergraduate Project Suggestions

A student of mine has expressed interest in doing an independent project next quarter with me. This would not be for credit and it is purely for her own educational stimulation. She wants to study ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Introduction to Newtons method

I'm supposed to come up with two ways to introduce Newtons method for the approximation of zeros for highschool students. (That is the method using tangents and with the formula $ x_{n+1} = x_{n} - ...
0
votes
0answers
60 views

Fun Lagrange multiplier problem?

Do any of you have a fun or interesting Lagrange multiplier problem that would be suitable for undergraduate calculus students? I'm planning on working through a standard Lagrange multiplier problem ...
0
votes
1answer
27 views

Systems of Inequalities question

Amy is a landscaper and has been given an assignment to modify the plans for a park in a small neighbourhood. The land she is working on is covered in trees and shrubs. Amy needs to make the park ...
2
votes
0answers
37 views

Ratio Question (Primary School)

Now, there are 6 students who are sharing 4 desks at the library. While 4 of them are using the desks, the other 2 students have to wait and watch. If they have to use the desk for the same amount of ...
8
votes
1answer
213 views

How to draw greek letters on paper / blackboard?

For $\gamma$ (gamma), I've noticed people doing a sort of $\alpha$ (alpha) rotated by ninety degrees, which seems to be the standard on-paper-or-blackboard equivalent of $\gamma$. But for letters ...
1
vote
2answers
251 views

Cartesian product sets

I'm preparing a lesson on the Cartesian product of two sets and I have run into the following confusion: I understand that the Cartesian product is not a commutative operation. Generally speaking, ...
23
votes
6answers
625 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
275 views

Real numbers as decimals

I'm looking for a book that develops the theory of real numbers in a rigorous way in terms of their decimal expansions. The exposition should be concrete and preferably aimed at mathematically ...
3
votes
2answers
187 views

Why learn abstract mathematics? What is the point? [closed]

I'm a mathematics college lecturer and have an mphil degree in the subject. But I often wonder why I'm learning this senior undergrad level mathematics---analysis, topology, functional analysis, ...
1
vote
2answers
32 views

Countability - Constant Functions

I am learning about countability. I know about diagonalization and I am confused about constant functions and whether or not they are countable. A constant function in my case would be: $f(0) = 1,$ ...
1
vote
2answers
90 views

Fun results from modular arithmetic

I'm trying to go through various bits of neat, fun math with some junior-high-school students in my local area, and am thinking of doing a short unit on modular arithmetic/finite groups. I'm looking ...
3
votes
1answer
203 views

Prove that the exponential function is differentiable

Imagine that you are writing a book on the foundations of analysis. You have already proved that for each $a > 1$ there is a unique function $f_a(x) = a^x$ satisfying the following: $f_a$ is an ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

A Very Elementary Article or Webpage about Secret Sharing

I'm looking for an article or webpage about secret sharing with Latin squares, accessible to middle school students. I searched but found none. Can you help me? Thanks.
0
votes
2answers
52 views

Arithmetic Progressions Formula

I'm studying progressions in math class in Portugal, and I don't know the words/translation in english for certain things so I'll try to explain. I have this arithmetic progression: 2, 8, 18, 32 ... ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

How can I learn to recognize the obvious questions?

I have heard and seen several references to "obvious questions", "obvious axioms" and other "obvious" things (I am not referring to obvious results!). Now, in a seminar I am taking, at the end of each ...
1
vote
3answers
115 views

Applications of derivatives outside mathematics and physics

I've been teaching calculus for several years and have some doubts about whether derivatives (and integration techniques) of common functions are useful and important outside mathematics and physics. ...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

How do you teach the correctness of bijections when dealing with counting in combinatorics?

Consider the problem of awarding prizes to people in a school. Let $A$ be the set of awards and $|A| = m = 3$. Let $P$ be the set of people in the school and $|P| = n$. Then in how many ways can ...
27
votes
14answers
817 views

Examples where it is easier to prove more than less

Especially (but not only) in the case of induction proofs, it happens that a stronger claim $B$ is easier to prove than the intended claim $A$ (e.g. since the induction hypothesis gives you more ...
0
votes
1answer
586 views

Taking Calculus II and Calculus III at the same time?

A little background: I'm a high school student enrolling at a local university next fall. I plan to pursue a mathematics degree, have studied this Calculus book. During the next semester, I plan to ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Teaching non-integer exponents

Say I'm teaching a younger student the concept of exponents. Now the basic example to begin with is say $2^3$ where it can be 'visualised' as having two blocks, then doubling the number of blocks, ...
1
vote
2answers
27 views

Large round brackets in equation

I cannot recall what the large () brackets mean - Google seems to be full of links on how to create them but not what they actually are or how to resolve them. $ ...
8
votes
3answers
265 views

difficulty of accepting $i^2 = -1$ for first timers [duplicate]

While teaching complex numbers for those who are encounter for the first time (usually 10th grader and 11th grader), I get the question like "Can even squared number give negative results? How ...
11
votes
3answers
671 views

Very elementary proof of that Euler's totient function is multiplicative

Well, I know two or three proofs of this fact $$\gcd(m,n)=1\implies \varphi(mn)=\varphi(m)\varphi(n)$$ where $\varphi$ is the totient function. My problem is this: I'd like to explain this to some ...
6
votes
2answers
73 views

Is there a way to simplify this equation

Is there a way to simplify this equation? $$ CE = 2 FD \sin \left( \arctan \left( \frac{AF}{FD} \right) - \arccos\left( \frac{AB}{\sqrt{AF^2+FD^2}}\right) \right) + \sqrt{AF^2+FD^2-AB^2} $$ Edit: ...
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Why do we need zeroes when writing some of those kinds of numbers?

I've looked up that zero is a placeholder in numbers that have this digit. I also figured out what would happen if there's no zero in 5,074 in a math journal. The number would be 5,74, which would ...
1
vote
2answers
126 views

How to find the order of a group generated by two elements?

What is the order of a group $G $ generated by two elements $x$ and $y$ subject only to the relations $x^3 = y^2 = (xy)^2 = 1$? List the subgroups of $G$. Since the above relation is the 'only' ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

Why does induction procedure of Euler characteristic fail for non-convex polyhedra? What am I missing?

Euler characteristic of convex polyhedra is always $V-E+F=2$. Induction procedure reduces edges and vertices until we are down to one vertex whose $V-E+F=2$ and hence you are done. The same ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Order of a study

So i just recently had to drop two math courses, topology, math logic, because my math maturity wasn't up to the level needed to excel in them. I intend on taking them again, but not without first ...
0
votes
0answers
50 views

Appreciating the Distributive Law

I'm going to introduce my middle school students to the distributive law in arithmetic, in a meaningful way so that they understand its importance and value. I need some interesting examples and ...
0
votes
3answers
362 views

I want to study higher mathematics. Where do I start?

Since last year, I've been interested in higher mathematics and don't really know where to start and don't know what knowledge I still need to obtain, before being able to understand the concepts. ...
33
votes
1answer
765 views

What did mathematicians study as an undergraduate/graduate before modern mathematics such as modern algebra and analysis?

I am curious as to what mathematicians such as Leibnitz and Gauss and the Bernoulli's studied when they were students in university. I find it fascinating how we are taught calculus and abstract ...
1
vote
2answers
67 views

Can I define the limit of a sequence like this?

It is well-known that a sequence has a limit if and only if it is bounded and has a unique limit point. I think this is a better definition of the limit of a sequnece, comparing with the $\epsilon-N$ ...
3
votes
2answers
47 views

Theorem of the convergence of the series of fourier! [duplicate]

During the demonstration of the theorem of the convergence of the series of fourier, my teacher wrote :$$ \frac{1}{2}+ \sum_{k=1}^{n} \cos(ky)=\frac{\sin((n+\frac{1}{2})y)}{2\sin(\frac{y}{2})} $$ he ...
1
vote
4answers
829 views

Solved to be 7 after arithmetic

I recently made a blunder while trying to explain a question asked to me in an interview, The question was Think of $X$ Add $X$ to itself ($X+X = y$) Times the result by $3$ ($y\times 3 = z$) ...
0
votes
3answers
122 views

How to compute Final Grade with assignment weightings?

I have just finished the Final for my Computer Hardware course, and I'm trying to figure out where my grade currently stands. The way the class is broken up is 50% weight for the homework, 25% for the ...