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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11
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3answers
256 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
266 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
120 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 ...
34
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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 ...
8
votes
4answers
185 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
362 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
votes
1answer
70 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 ...
27
votes
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
vote
1answer
42 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
108 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
66 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
364 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
108 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
35 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
188 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
150 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
56 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
391 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
63 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
76 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
255 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 $\{(a_1,a_2,a_3) \in \mathbb{R}^3 \mid a_3 = 0\}$ ...
-2
votes
3answers
127 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 ...
55
votes
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
5answers
1k 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 this in an 'optimal' and innovative way. And my question is: What should the teacher know ...
2
votes
0answers
109 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
56 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
161 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 ...
46
votes
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
votes
5answers
1k 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
663 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
votes
1answer
700 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
votes
2answers
248 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. $x^{- 3} y^2$ $c^2 d^{-5}$ ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
124
votes
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
187 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
764 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
144 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 ...
244
votes
33answers
32k 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} ...
1
vote
0answers
58 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 ...
60
votes
24answers
12k 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
votes
2answers
305 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
76 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
306 views

How would you create a math class that centers on the cultural experiences of African American and Latino students [closed]

I need to write a paper on "Ethnocentric Mathematics" and I have no idea what kind of effective teaching strategies are available. We read an article from this scholar named Tate who explained that in ...
5
votes
6answers
415 views

What is the point of quadratic residues?

What is the most motivating way to introduce quadratic residues? Are there any real life examples of quadratic residues? Why is the Law of Quadratic Reciprocity considered as one of the most ...
8
votes
2answers
143 views

Is the maximal path through a math book necessarily linear?

I'm studying with two main math books (Munkres and D&F) these couple of months. My method so far is just going through the book page by page constructing everything in it (independently if I can) ...
11
votes
3answers
156 views

Applications of functions of the form $f(x)^{g(x)}$

Early on in my calculus education, I learned how to take the derivative of $x^x$ by re-writing it in the form $e^{x\ln x}$. More generally, this technique is helpful in finding the derivative of ...
5
votes
2answers
166 views

Is it better to teach or to grade?

As a graduate student at my university, I have the option many times of deciding what type of work I do for support. The two basic options are to teach either a calculus or college algebra course, or ...
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Topic for teaching assessment

I'm in the position to have a teaching assessment with a tutoring agency next week. This assessment will include me teaching the assessor a topic of my choice in 15 minutes, demonstrating the Socratic ...
2
votes
0answers
70 views

(Actual) applications of basic differential and integral methods

If this isn't the place, I apologize: At the end of my calculus class, we asked the students (among other things) what some applications of calculus methods are. Disappointingly, many focused on the ...
4
votes
0answers
631 views

Soft question : First year student and confused

I hope I won't tire the fellow mathematicians with this question but I am very, very confused... I am a first year undergraduate student of Mathematics. I can't say I am a prodigy, maybe having an ...