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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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 ...
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684 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 ...
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3answers
225 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 ...
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3answers
445 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
59 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 $\epsilon-N$ ...
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1answer
70 views

Using Latex in classroom instead of blackboard?

Does anyone find it doable to use Latex in a classroom setup instead of blackboard? I would think it is tempting except for the input speed one can reach. But considering the messiness of chalks, and ...
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2answers
132 views

How to teach Critical Thinking

I am currently tutoring a few students in an entry level physics course and had some trouble recently when it comes to helping them with problem solving. The students I am helping don't have many ...
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5answers
332 views

Algebraic topology in high school?

This winter I am planning on teaching a small seminar (20 lectures 45 minutes each) for high school students. I was was given the freedom to choose the topic of the seminar, but it is supposed to be ...
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1answer
47 views

Confusion on Eigenvalues of Matrix

I'm a TA with Advanced Algebra in school and teach the Jordan Form now. There are three questions about eigenvalues in this chapter: Given matrix $A$, $B$ and polynome $f$, consider the eigenvalues' ...
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4answers
800 views

How to explain to a high school student why a linear differential equation is linear?

My mother is teaching a high school course on multivariable calculus, and they were studying linear differential equations of the form $$y' + P(x) y = Q(x),$$ and the question of why this equation is ...
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122 views

Alternative introduction to tensor products of vector spaces

One of the main obstacles in understanding the tensor product is that, unlike many other algebraic structures, you cannot really get hold of its element structure. This confuses many beginners. The ...
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1answer
81 views

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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3answers
82 views

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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1answer
103 views

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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6answers
144 views

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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4answers
161 views

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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2answers
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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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1answer
666 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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73 views

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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1answer
114 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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2answers
253 views

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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13answers
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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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31answers
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What are some conceptualizations that work in mathematics but are not strictly true?

I'm having an argument with someone who thinks it's never justified to teach something that's not strictly correct. I disagree: often, the pedagogically most efficient way to make progress is to ...
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7answers
276 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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2answers
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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 [closed]

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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5answers
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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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3answers
157 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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2answers
55 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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16answers
7k views

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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1answer
108 views

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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109 views

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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1answer
50 views

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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0answers
61 views

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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2answers
182 views

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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54 views

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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10answers
2k views

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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1answer
47 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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2answers
227 views

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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1answer
179 views

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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4answers
743 views

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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4answers
575 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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1answer
51 views

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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0answers
56 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
99 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
93 views

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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5answers
159 views

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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1answer
70 views

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 ...