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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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
143 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 ...
45
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14answers
4k views

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
60 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 ...
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0answers
128 views

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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3answers
230 views

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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6answers
208 views

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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0answers
85 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 ...
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6answers
2k views

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 ...
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4answers
164 views

Primary/Elementary Pedagogy: What is the rationale for the absent '+' in mixed fractions?

Why are elementary students taught to represent one and a half as 1 1/2 rather than 1 + 1/2? This mode of expression seems standard throughout at least North America. I think it is bad pedagogy for a ...
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2answers
289 views

How to explain lagrange multipliers to a lay audience?

So I will be giving a seminar to a scientifically mature lay audience (think bio/social science undergrad level). I have been told that I should count on less than half the audience to have experience ...
2
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1answer
63 views

What Will Happen Without Decimal Expansion?

After a discussion on the complexity of decimal expansion (such as $0.\bar{9}=1$), some of my students (middle school) decided to throw away the decimal expansion of some numbers! Namely, the numbers ...
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0answers
12 views

Request for an excellent Hnote on mean value theorems in calculus I for teaching engineering students

I was wondering if anybody could give me a link to a note of the mean value theorems for science and engineering students. This'll be for the teaching purpose, and I'm looking for a suggestion of ...
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8answers
2k views

Active learning vs Passive learning in Math

I am trying to improve how I learn in general but specifically in math and a common suggestion I keep coming across is the difference between active learning and passive learning. The problem is, most ...
1
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1answer
36 views

Variational characterization of gradient?

Let $f: \mathbb{R}^n \to \mathbb{R}$ be a differentiable function. One way to define the gradient of $f$ is as the vector whose inner product with any other vector gives the directional derivative in ...
2
votes
2answers
81 views

Is there a systematic way to detect overcounting in simple combinatorics?

TL;DR: In simple combinatorics problems, is there a systematic way to detect overcounting before computing the counts and comparing them? Is it simple enough to be taught to undergrads: At my ...
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0answers
60 views

What else can I do to learn math better? [closed]

I feel like I am not learning math well or efficiently enough. I read the textbook, do the exercises but I still don't get the marks I would like. For the time I put in, it seems like I should be ...
0
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0answers
105 views

Line Integral Problem best or easier solved using geometry?

Does anyone have any recommendation on a line integral problem involving vector fields (aka work) such that evaluating the resulting line integral using parameterization would be significantly ...
1
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3answers
265 views

How would you explain confidence intervals to a beginner with very weak algebra skills

Let us say that you are taking AP Statistics. The prerequisite is a passing grade of D or above in Algebra II. The kids that you are working with struggle with algebra and do not retain information ...
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2answers
88 views

Resources for teaching introductory course in differential equations?

The first time I was assigned to teach an introductory linear algebra course, I was able to find a number of resources which were helpful. For example, Linear Algebra Gems and Resources for Teaching ...
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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 ...
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2answers
144 views

Convention verses memory: The quotient rule v product rule for derivatives

I have long wondered why the product rule is taught the way it is. ${ d(UV)=Udv+Vdu}$ Don't get me wrong, I am not a complete NOB when it comes to calc, but the quotient rule states $${d(\frac ...
0
votes
1answer
115 views

How to get a top-notch Math education (high school level) online?

For the past years, it is becoming more and more accessible to get college level content from many different sources, and, if one is willing can get very far with his math education (not only by ...
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0answers
47 views

What is the less confusing way to explain confidence intervals to a beginner

Let us say that you are back in high school and you have a friend who has missed class for a week. He needs information to be spoonfed to him, because its not his style to overthink. If you push for ...
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3answers
327 views

which exact integration techniques belong in a first year calculus/analysis course?

At our university we are now discussing changes to the course contents and there is some heated discussion regarding integration in the first year calculus courses. Currently, the techniques of exact ...
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1answer
60 views

How Should the First Sessions of an Undergrad. Course Be?

Form a teaching perspective, the first sessions of an undergraduate mathematics course are of a great importance. They can make clear the aims of the course, and point out to the main problems and ...
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1answer
63 views

Natural discontinuities

As I stare at a cube-shaped building whose side has length $100$ meters, while walking westward parallel to its north wall at a location $100$ meters north of the building, the distance to farthest ...
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4answers
249 views

How do I convince someone that $\mathbb{R}^2$ and its copy inside $\mathbb{R}^3$ are different?

One of my friends is taking a first course in linear algebra now, and one of the problems on his latest homework was to explain why $\mathbb{R}^2$ and $\{(a_1,a_2,a_3) \in \mathbb{R}^3 \mid a_3 = 0\}$ ...
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3answers
123 views

What is trigonometry? [closed]

I am going to learn trigonometry next year. I am an advanced student and I like to get a head start on things. So, How do you describe and introduce Trigonometry to the advanced secondary school ...
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19answers
18k views

How do I convince my students that the choice of variable of integration is irrelevant?

I will be TA this semester for the second course on Calculus, which contains the definite integral. I have thought this since the time I took this course, so how do I convince my students that for a ...
6
votes
4answers
841 views

Teaching irrational numbers?

I'm interested in teaching the irrational numbers to high-school students, and I need your ideas on how to do in an 'optimal' and innovative way. And my question is: What should the teacher know ...
2
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0answers
95 views

Exercises or courses to improve logical rigor and reasoning skills

There is plenty of math that is beautiful without needing much explanation of theory, such as fractals, geometric patterns and the Game of Life, that may interest beginners in mathematics. However, if ...
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0answers
53 views

What is a sound curriculum for exponent rules in freshman algebra in high school?

We all know the the rules of exponents covered in freshman algebra. The question is, what is the best way to approach these topics as most 9th graders struggle in this area? I work as an after school ...
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2answers
136 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 ...
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8answers
2k views

How to maintain enthusiasm and joy in teaching when the material grows stale

I recently finished my third semester of teaching calculus to freshman college students. This means I was drawing the same pictures, solving the same example problems, and discussing the same ...
12
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6answers
900 views

Self studying math, how can I learn the most?

I am currently studying Pre-Calculus on my own. I have a few texts I am working with but feel like I could learning a lot more than I am. When people typically ask these kind of questions the common ...
2
votes
2answers
458 views

Fundamental theorem of linear algebra

When I studied linear algebra we (our books, our professors) used to call Fundamental theorem of linear algebra the theorem that says: Fundamental theorem of linear algebra: A linear ...
12
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1answer
547 views

Teaching engineers mathematical thinking skills

In my experience, many introductory engineering mathematics textbooks these days tend to skip proofs and discuss logic only in the context of digital electronics. On the other hand, I can imagine that ...
6
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2answers
196 views

Teaching algebra in a culturally relevant way while fitting Common Core standards

I've been assigning algebra textbook and worksheet problems (from the publishers and my own) that look like this: Simplify the following expressions. $x^{- 3} y^2$ $c^2 d^{-5}$ ...
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1answer
30 views

Standardizing a normal curve and getting equivalent areas

For example, a pediatrician finds that his 3 year old patients are normal with mean 38.72 inches and SD of 3.17 inches. The probability that a randomly selected 3 year old patient is between 35 to ...
5
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2answers
653 views

Examples of open ended calculus “class project” ideas

I have instructed calculus I an II, each once, at the college level and would like to emphasize that math is not just about memorizing formulas and concepts for a test and that applied math is not a ...
118
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31answers
12k views

Stopping the “Will I need this for the test” question [closed]

I am a college professor in the American education system and find that the major concern of my students is trying to determine the specific techniques or problems which I will ask on the exam. This ...
6
votes
1answer
165 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
635 views

Why study metric spaces?

Most universities have a 3rd year undergraduate analysis course in which metric spaces are studied in depth (compactness, completeness, connectedness, etc...). However, in practice it seems that most ...
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2answers
124 views

Explaining the concept of $z$-scores in high school statistics

The students have so far studied the uniform probability distribution and have a working familiarity with relative frequency histograms and the 68-95-99.7 empirical rule. They still have trouble with ...
225
votes
33answers
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} ...
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0answers
54 views

Studies on how the wording employed on the explanation of mathematical concepts helps students to learn?

I remember that I had to learn division in my childhood, I could handle all the other mathematical concepts that were presented until then but division was a real pain to learn, somehow the idea of ...
56
votes
24answers
11k views

How would you explain to a 9th grader the negative exponent rule?

Let us assume that the students haven't been exposed to these two rules: $a^{x+y} = a^{x}a^{y}$ and $\frac{a^x}{a^y} = a^{x-y}$. They have just been introduced to the generalization: $a^{-x} = ...
4
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2answers
223 views

How can I explain my 9 years old brother that $8a\cdot4a \neq 64a$

My youngest brother had a pre-algebra test yesterday and he was asked to tell if two expressions are equal or not. We agreed on most of the things but on this one I find it hard to make him accept my ...
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2answers
73 views

Why is Cauchy condition for convergence not formulated in a simpler way?

The standard definition of a Cauchy sequence (e.g. it's given in Wikipedia and most textbooks I remember; admittedly those are mostly older ones) is: for every positive real $ε > 0$ there is a ...