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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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
168 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 ...
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3answers
655 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
125 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 ...
230
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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} ...
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0answers
55 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 ...
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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} = ...
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2answers
230 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
74 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
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4answers
297 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 ...
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6answers
365 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 ...
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2answers
137 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) ...
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3answers
153 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
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2answers
162 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 ...
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1answer
61 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 ...
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0answers
66 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 ...
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0answers
527 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 ...
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5answers
164 views

$\mathrm{card} ( \mathbb{Q})=\mathrm{card}( \mathbb{Q^c})$: Overcoming Wrong Intuition

This is a widespread intuitive argument, asserting that $\mathrm{card} ( \mathbb{Q})=\mathrm{card}( \mathbb{Q^c})$: Between any two rational numbers there's an irrational one and vice versa. So ...
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4answers
329 views

Is studying mathematics chronologically a good idea or not and why?

In high school nowadays most mathematics you learn is fairly 'old'. You have your geometry, all of which (taught in high school) was known to the Greeks more than 2 thousand years ago. You have ...
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0answers
93 views

How would you explain the pdf of the normal distribution to high school students (11th/12th graders)

I will be teaching the normal distribution in January and I need to know how to effectively explain the concepts that does not in any way confuse students or make them feel that the material is ...
4
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2answers
211 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 ...
2
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1answer
143 views

Explaining probability theory versus statistics

I'm not sure whether this question was asked before, but it's hard to search because of lots and lots non-descriptive titles like "statistics and probability". The context: There is an anecdote I ...
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9answers
718 views

What are the applications of continued fractions?

What is the most motivating way to introduce continued fractions? Are there any real life applications of continued fractions?
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0answers
70 views

Math for kids with Cuisenaire rods

I work with kids and i am searching some cool stuff to do with Cuisenaire rods. Thinking about an application i thought that i can show to my students what will be the sum of first $N\in\mathbb{N}$ ...
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0answers
135 views

Software/Applet to Draw Tree Diagrams (for Enumeration Problems)

I need a software/applet/flash file which easily draws tree diagrams for simple enumeration problems: I want to give number of the vertices in each layer, and it draws the diagram which shows all the ...
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4answers
259 views

Showing How Prime Factorization Helps Solving Problems

I need some problems conceivable by middle school students, which are not easy to solve unless the prime factorization of some number is known. An example: It's not easy to know wheter $n$ can be ...
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2answers
89 views

Motivated and unmotivated mathematics courses [closed]

The standard calculus course does not acquaint the student with the reasons why calculus has been and continues to be important in the intellectual development of humankind. Rather, it attempts to ...
3
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1answer
170 views

What are the benefits or losses of learning real analysis through a constructivist approach instead of a standard apporach?

Recently I've found some courses on real analysis that use the constructivist approach and I got curious on some aspects: What are the benefits of learning through this approach? Is it ok to learn ...
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0answers
107 views

Question about limits

I am quite new on SE. I see a lot of question about integrals, series, limits. I am wondering if there is a limit to teachers (or textbooks) imagination in these areas.
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10answers
444 views

$2\times2$ matrices are not big enough

Olga Tausky-Todd had once said that "If an assertion about matrices is false, there is usually a 2x2 matrix that reveals this." There are, however, assertions about matrices that are true for ...
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0answers
47 views

Resources for Teaching High School Statistics

I am a student teacher looking for resources to teach high school Probability & Statistics (untracked). The second semester will be inferential statistics and will include these following topics: ...
4
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1answer
100 views

Planning a mockup maths class for high school related to river reactivation

I have to plan a mockup maths lesson where the "main topic" should be river reactivation. The given suggestion is to focus on computing cross-sectional areas of rivers using basic geometry and for ...
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0answers
138 views

Dynamic Geometry Software for Straight-edge and Compass Constructions

Geogebra is a very good dynamic geometry software. It has so many default tools, e.g. parallel line, angle bisector, tangent to the circle, inscribed and circumscribed circles, etc. But I want the ...
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1answer
77 views

Fair Division: Making the Differences in Players' Valuations Believable

When teaching basic fair division algorithms, the students always propose some simple and (at the first glance) correct solutions for $n$ players, which unfortunately are not correct! The only way I ...
3
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4answers
246 views

Hilbert's Hotel and Infinities for Pre-university Students

Hilbert's paradox of the grand hotel is a fun and exciting ground to base a talk on the set theoretic concept of infinity for interested students - even in middle- and high school. However, it does ...
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1answer
96 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 ...
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2answers
207 views

Good at abstractions bad with numbers

Ever since I had an interest in math I was aware that what I'm good at and what really pulled me was the abstract thinking. My intuition for even the simplest number related concepts (modulo ...
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0answers
80 views

A question on mathematical writing.

One of the problems I am grading this week is as follows: Given a simply connected bounded domain $\Omega$ on $\mathbb{R}^{2}$, prove that there exist a line that separates it into two parts of equal ...
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3answers
79 views

Mean Value Theorem Motivation

I am currently practicing presenting mathematics to various audiences and am considering the example of the mean value theorem. I was wondering how would I be able to motivate this theorem to a ...
2
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1answer
136 views

Motivations for Prime Factorizaton

I'm at the beginning of some middle school math sessions on divisors, gcd, lcm, and prime numbers. It's the first place in the curriculum that the students encounter the three latter concepts ...
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4answers
469 views

Is $\tan\theta\cos\theta=\sin\theta$ an identity?

A friend of mine, who is a high school teacher, called me today and asked the question above in the title. In an abstract setting, this boils down to asking whether an expression like "$f=g$" is ...
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2answers
831 views

Explaining Hypercomplex numbers to Children.

Imagine a highschool freshman walks up to you and asks you what hypercomplex numbers are. Explain to her, in a fair amount of detail, the different types of hypercomplex numbers in a way that any ...
2
votes
2answers
171 views

How important are tests in math study?

I'm currently trying to teach myself math through reading. I've made a schedule to keep my pace and to make sure I finish enough problems. Should I add to my routine a timed test now and then?
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0answers
273 views

What are some good ideas in teaching combinations and permutations

I am a student teacher trying to brainstorm some effective lesson plans for combinations and permutations for a high school statistics course. My master teacher has decided that he will introduce ...
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0answers
55 views

Why do we need primitive roots?

What is the most motivating way to introduce the order of a modulo n? Apart from simplifying powers of residues is there any other use of the order? Are there any examples which have a real impact on ...
1
vote
1answer
253 views

Parabola & Area Proving (Integral)

This is not a homework question. I am a new teacher (just graduated) and a student asked me this question. The points A(3,9) and B(-2,4) lie on the parabola y=x^2. The line y=x+6 joins A and B. The ...
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20answers
2k views

Good math bed-time stories for children?

What are some good references/books/articles from which to derive some good bed-time math stories to pique a child's interest in math? I am fascinated by math (used to hate it as a kid) and want my ...
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3answers
49 views

Commutativity or Distributivity - Which One to Use to DEFINE Multiplication of Negative Numbers?

It's easy to calculate $3 \times (-4)$, using the meaning of multiplication: $3 \times (-4)=(-4)+(-4)+(-4)=-12$. But it's not the case about $(-4)\times 3$! To DEFINE $(-4)\times 3$ we can choose ...
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22answers
6k views

Is math built on assumptions?

I just came across this statement when I was lecturing a student on math and strictly speaking I used: Assuming that the value of $x$ equals <something>, ... One of my students just rose ...