5
votes
2answers
98 views

$2^{1/4} \times 4^{1/8} \times 8^{1/16} \times 16^{1/32} \times \ldots\to2$

$2^{1/4} \times 4^{1/8} \times 8^{1/16} \times 16^{1/32} \times \ldots\to2$ How can I explain this to a school student who doesn't know what a limit is?
4
votes
0answers
77 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Teaching School Algebra via Programming

It seems that there are ideas to teach school algebra (i.e. using variables, working with algebraic expressions and solving equations) via computer programming. I need a book or a collection of ...
2
votes
2answers
125 views

Explaining how to simplify a quotient with negative exponents?

I work as an after school tutor at my high school. I've had kids come up to me asking how to do these types of problems: $\left(\displaystyle \frac{5xy^{-2}}{3z^{-1}} \right)^{-2}$ My approach is ...
6
votes
1answer
162 views

How to combat memorization

As a student in high school, I never bothered to memorize equations or methods of solving, rather I would try to identify the logic behind the operations and apply them. However, now that I've begun ...
220
votes
32answers
31k views

Pedagogy: How to cure students of the “law of universal linearity”?

One of the commonest mistakes made by students, appearing at every level of maths education up to about early undergraduate, is the so-called “Law of Universal Linearity”: $$ \frac{1}{a+b} ...
4
votes
2answers
200 views

What is a good example to show high school students why a proof for induction is a reasonable kind of proof?

I teach average-level high school students who have not had much beyond Algebra 1. I want to show them why induction makes sense. I want the sort of problem where it is intuitive that a statement is ...
0
votes
1answer
92 views

Are Parabolas similar intuitively?

All parabolas are similar, but are they all similar in that it is just a question of 'zooming in and out' intuitively speaking? It seems that there should therefore be on all parabolas a curve from ...
6
votes
1answer
192 views

Are Base Ten Logarithms Relics?

Just interested in your thoughts regarding the contention that the pre-eminence of base ten logarithms is a relic from pre-calculator days. Firstly I understand that finding the (base-10) ...
7
votes
0answers
150 views

Is there an elementary introduction to higher order functions?

I am teaching a pre-calculus course (using the textbook by Michael Sullivan if it helps), and I realized that higher order functions seem to show up in with some frequency in pre-calculus and ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What is a standard precalculus syllabus?

I'm about to start teaching a calculus I class next week and I was wondering what I can expect from my students. I'm a Brit teaching in the US so I am unfamiliar with the system. I am hoping that ...
5
votes
4answers
793 views

Self-teaching myself math from pre-calc and beyond.

Going to be starting grade 12 (pre-calculus) shortly and looking to get ahead. I would like to try some more rigorous stuff on my own and have a couple questions. Ideally I would like to be prepared ...
82
votes
12answers
10k views

How to convince a math teacher of this simple and obvious fact?

I have in my presence a mathematics teacher, who asserts that $$ \frac{a}{b} = \frac{c}{d} $$ Implies: $$ a = c, \space b=d $$ She has been shown in multiple ways why this is not true: $$ ...
3
votes
2answers
140 views

What is an effective means to make divisibility tests a mathematical 'habit', particularly for algebra?

Divisibility tests are a useful problem-solving technique for particularly dealing with larger numbers (thousands etc) and algebraic problems. However, I have always found that many students will just ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Relearning from the basics to Calculus and beyond.

Assume someone has very limited knowledge of math. (low level high school, 5-6 years ago) How would they learn from the basics of algebra, geometry and trigonometry to a solid foundation for calculus ...
1
vote
1answer
128 views

Turning an ellipse into a parabola

Today I was discussing circles, ellipses, hyperbolas, and parabolas in my precalculus class. We did the usual: completing the square, finding the center and radius (radii), etc. etc. But I like to ...
28
votes
9answers
3k views

Is this way of teaching how to solve equations dangerous somehow?

Two years ago, I bought the book Mathematics for the Nonmathematican, by Morris Kline. There I learned a new way of solving equations, which is related to the principle that states that any ...
45
votes
12answers
3k views

How can I introduce complex numbers to precalculus students?

I teach a precalculus course almost every semester, and over these semesters I've found various things that work quite well. For example, when talking about polynomials and rational functions, in ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

Polynomials and exponentials: showing that $n^k \le c\cdot a^n$

If $k$ is any real and $a>1$, prove that there exists a $c>0$ such that for any integer $n\ge 1,$ $$ n^k \le c\cdot a^n $$ To forestall any complaints about the imperative nature of this ...
36
votes
25answers
6k views

“Negative” versus “Minus”

As a math educator, do you think it is appropriate to insist that students say "negative $0.8$" and not "minus $0.8$" to denote $-0.8$? The so called "textbook answer" regarding this question reads: ...
1
vote
3answers
193 views

“the product of the factors” versus “the factors of the product”

Could somebody please compare and contrast the meanings of the two phrases: "the product of the factors" and "the factors of the product." In terms of expressing possession. Thank you.
5
votes
5answers
656 views

High school math definition of a variable: the first step from the concrete into the abstract…

variable: A symbol used to represent one or more numbers. High school students are justifiably confused by the two distinct concepts: a variable as something that “varies” in an expression, such ...
1
vote
1answer
269 views

When my teacher gives me a question involving summation notation, do they expect us to calculate it by hand?

Assuming we don't have a calculator that can do summation notation. My class is not up to summation yet, but I'm asking a question involving this concept because I'm not all that experienced using it. ...
12
votes
4answers
287 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 ...
26
votes
11answers
4k views

How do you define functions for non-mathematicians?

I'm teaching a College Algebra class in the upcoming semester, and only a small portion of the students will be moving on to further mathematics. The class is built around functions, so I need to ...
4
votes
5answers
622 views

Usefulness of Conic Sections

Conic sections are a frequent target for dropping when attempting to make room for other topics in advanced algebra and precalculus courses. A common argument in favor of dropping them is that ...