Mathematics education consists in the practice of teaching and learning mathematics, along with the associated research. Research in mathematics education concerns the tools, methods and approaches that facilitate the practice of mathematics or the study of this practice.

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Tips on “short” math lecture presentation for compsci students

I just got interview to teach college (of applied science) compsci student math. This is the first time I get this type of interview. The type of interview is called a "hearing" where a dozen people ...
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Intuition for high school students regarding square roots and logarithms [duplicate]

These are some common mistakes high schoolers make: $$ \sqrt{a + b} = \sqrt{a} + \sqrt{b} $$ $$ \log(a+b) = \log (a) + \log(b)$$ So I can obviously show numeric examples to say why these are wrong, ...
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Dynamic Geometry Software for teach construction

I would like to know about a software that will help me show construction steps to the students with using a Compass/Straight Edge/Protractor/Divider. Here is example video below. ...
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Exercise for a possible test

This is an exercise that I would like to propose for a written exam to my calculus students: Consider the function $$ f(x)=\begin{cases} a+2x &\text{if $x<0$} \\ 2+ax &\text{if $0 ...
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When $n$ is divided by $14$, the remainder is $10$. What is the remainder when $n$ is divided by $7$?

I need to explain this to someone who hasn't taken a math course for 5 years. She is good with her algebra. This was my attempt: Here's how this question works. To motivate what I'll be doing, ...
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Simple examples of math problems illustrating a basic epistemological point.

Instructor: In fact this expression is equal to that expression. Let us see how we can convince ourselves that that is true. Student: I'm more than willing to take your word for it! You're the ...
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When does L' Hopital's rule fail?

This thought jumped out of me during my calculus teaching seminar. It is well known that the classical L'Hospital rule claims that for the $\frac{0}{0}$ indeterminate case, we have: $$ ...
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68 views

“Real world” applications of rational functions

I need a rational function/equation beyond the contrived d=rt and work problems typically given in beginner algebra. I am teaching such a class and would like to motivate the study of techniques for ...
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Teaching determinants

I am writing a first handout on determinants. The intended audience is confident with basic matrix algebra and the basic definitions of vector space theory. I just wondered if someone would comment on ...
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97 views

Polynomial identities

When I was about 17 our teacher showed us how polynomial identities had equal coefficients. I remember him showing that this was so by moving one polynomial "over to the other side" and showing that ...
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Teaching the Concept of Infinity to Children.

I was recently out with the family and we left it up to the children where we ate lunch (11 and 9 years old). They couldn't agree and were going back and forth calling each other names. This ...
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In calculus, which questions can the naive ask that the learned cannot answer?

Number theory is known to be a field in which many questions that can be understood by secondary-school pupils have defied the most formidable mathematicians' attempts to answer them. Calculus is not ...
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Where to post a Calculus review guide?

I created a PDF document (using LaTeX) in which I wrote relevant review materials and Calculus problems for Calculus 1, 2, and 3. Is there an appropriate forum where I could try to post this to ...
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What are some conceptualizations that work in mathematics but are not strictly true?

I am having an argument with someone who thinks that it's never justified to teach something that is not strictly correct. I disagree: often, the pedagogically most efficient way to make progress is ...
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122 views

Classic Counting Problems

Does anyone have some good, classic, counting problems? I want things that are interesting, as well as instructive- more than just compute the number of way to get a flush, etc. (Not that those aren't ...
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Helping a reluctant 12 year old. [closed]

My 12 year old daughter needs to strengthen her math skills. My strategy up until a year or so ago has been pretty relaxed. I subscribe to the idea that the best motivation for learning is the ...
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$2^{1/4} \times 4^{1/8} \times 8^{1/16} \times 16^{1/32} \times \ldots\to2$

$2^{1/4} \times 4^{1/8} \times 8^{1/16} \times 16^{1/32} \times \ldots\to2$ How can I explain this to a school student who doesn't know what a limit is?
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Mathematics teaching positions in the UK

crossposted to http://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/24065/mathematics-teaching-position-in-the-uk I hold a PhD in pure mathematics and am looking for mathematics teaching positions in the UK, ...
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Is $ 5 $ nearer to $ 0 $ or $ 10 $?

My 6-year-old’s homework was “to find the nearest $ 10 $.” For example, $$ 42 \to 40 \quad \text{and} \quad 28 \to 30. $$ For $ 55 $, she answered “$ 50 $” and was marked wrong. How is this wrong? ...
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127 views

Questions for first year students at the University. [closed]

I will help teach in a introductory class in mathematics for engineers in applied math at the University. Anyone have any good and cool favorite questions or know where I can find some? Anything is ...
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49 views

What are real applications of factorization of integers?

Why is factorization of integers important on a first number theory course? Where is factorization used in real life? Are there examples which have a real impact? I am looking for examples which will ...
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46 views

Binomial expansion for any n

I teach A-Level maths, and in the second year we do the general binomial expansion, which is even provided for the students in the formula book. For values of $n$ that are not positive integers: (I ...
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Interesting “real life” applications of serious theorems

As a student one sometimes encounters exercises which ask you to solve a rather funny "real life problem", e.g. I recall an exercise on the Krein-Milman theorem which was something like: "You have a ...
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How is addition on N formally defined in textbooks on real analysis?

This is a follow-up question to Why does the definition of addition require proofs? In Landau's Foundations of Analysis, his definition of addition on the natural numbers seems a bit strange to me -- ...
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Using math to help people [duplicate]

So I am currently a graduate student at the University of Colorado. I love math. From calculus to category theory to everything in between, I have tried and, for the most part, loved it. However, I ...
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A basis in the $k$-th exterior power of a vector field

Definition: Let $\mathbb R^n$ be the $n$-dimensional real vector space. An exterior $k$-form call any skew-symmetric tensor on $\mathbb R^n$ of rank $k$. Denote the set of exterior $k$-forms by $E^k$. ...
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Instructive video content for High School kids?

I need some math Youtube channels (or any other visual media, movies maybe...) that I can recommend to High School students, not solely as a method of learning math but more to illustrate the beauty ...
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Measure Theory or Set Theory?

Having taken Real Analysis I before (the seven first chapters of baby Rudin) I have the option to take Measure Theory now. However I am torn between that and Set Theory. Which course would you go for ...
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One and Two Tailed Independent T Test Questions

The city council for a small town has been receiving complaints from local law enforcement that citizens have been extremely uncooperative when pulled over for minor traffic violations. To remedy ...
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Are there 3 trig functions or are there 6 trig functions?

In my algebra class we are being taught that there are only the 3 basic trig functions (cosine, sine, and tangent). But my friend who is 2 math grade levels ahead of me is saying that there is 6 trig ...
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43 views

Motivating convex sets.

I am kind of TAing for a class of real analysis, and I would like to speak a little about convex sets tomorrow, and explain why they are important. What kind of examples could I give? I was thinking ...
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Closed, orientable surface whose genus is very hard to find intuitively

I'm introducing the Classification Theorem on closed and orientable surfaces in a talk on (intuitive) topology, and to motivate it I'd like an example of an embedding of a surface in $\mathbb{R}^3$ ...
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On ambiguity in statements expressed in natural language, where the statements use an indefinite article, e.g. “a”.

Please consider the following example statements and judge the meaning of the article "a". Example: A house is a building. Example: A house is being built next to our house. In example 1, "a" is ...
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Revenue Function - Silly Definition

I'm teaching the section 4.7 on optimization in Stewart Calculus. It has a subsection on "Applications to Business and Economics." There the author defines the price function $p(x)$ to be the price ...
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Linear combinations of sine and cosine

If you take a linear combination of the cosine and sine function, then the result is again a sinusoid, but with a new amplitude and phase shift. $$a \cos(\theta) + b \sin(\theta) = A \cos(\theta + ...
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Is there a program like ALEKS for mathematical logic?

ALEKS (http://www.aleks.com/) is a good way of learning procedural math, because it is very systematic and forces you to master the dependencies of a kind of problem before working on that kind of ...
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282 views

Applications of inflection points

Recently, I was teaching maxima, minima and inflection points to first year engineering students. I motived extrema by giving practical examples of optimization problems, but when a colleague asked me ...
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Generally speaking, how should one read notation?

I became a better reader when I stopped sub-vocalizing (hearing the words in my head). I still do that when I read math. I tried not to do that when I read an expression today. I felt less confident ...
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How to explain the significance of $\pi$ to a child? [closed]

In honor of $\pi$ Day, I thought I would pose this question. How would you explain the significance of $\pi$ to a child of, say, 9 years of age? While that's certainly an age that is old enough to ...
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Is there a name to refers to anything that is a point, line, plane, etc?

I'm teaching my juniors in high school some beginning linear algebra, but I find there is some vocabulary I am missing. I want to say that points, lines, and planes are all related, but is there a ...
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75 views

Elementary “bugs” in computer algebra systems?

There's a discussion of bugs in CAS's here, but these are technical errors of interest mainly to the professional mathematician. I am more interested in simple errors which might arise in the use of ...
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1answer
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Literature for ODE undergrad class

I am teaching a undergrad ODE class. I am looking for some good (introductory) articles with applications of ODE's. In particular I would like some motivations for some special functions (Legendre, ...
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Not pi - What if I used 3? Teaching pi discovery to K-6th grade

So, in ancient Mesopotamia they knew that they didn't really have the correct number (pi) to determine attributes of a circle. They rounded to 3. If you acted as though pi = 3, what shape would you ...
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Do we need to formally teach the Greek Alphabet?

This is a question that I am purely interested in because I think we never thought about this before in Mathematics education... or even so was not discussed. When did we learn the Greek alphabets ...
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Nature of Points and Lines in Euclidean Geometry

It may be true that very few middle school student can grasp the meaning of lines and points in Euclidean geometry prior to a direct instruction. For example, it's possible that such a conversation ...
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What are some cool projects that can be done in a high school math class?

I'm studying to be a secondary math teacher and will be starting student teaching next month (an algebra 2 class). It's difficult to find activities and projects that are actually informative and time ...
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Natural uses for the co-product of sets?

I had come across countless uses of the (Cartesian) product of sets long before I first ever met the concept of a "co-product"1 of sets. In fact, anyone who has learned basic analytic geometry in ...
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Can one show a beginning student how to use the $p$-adics to solve a problem?

I recently had a discussion about how to teach $p$-adic numbers to high school students. One person mentioned that they found it difficult to get used to $p$-adics because no one told them why the ...
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Transitioning to Higher Level Mathematics

I am just finishing grade 12 pre-calculus at my school and have strong interest in math. The problem is, it seems some important elements of higher level math are not in my schools curriculum that are ...
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Why is there antagonism towards extended real numbers?

In my backstory, I was introduced to the geometric concept of infinity rather young, through reading about the inversive plane. In the course of learning calculus, I'm pretty sure I formed a concept ...