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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First-grader problem in arithmetic

I found this problem in a text book on arithmetic for first graders (7 y.o.) of the former USSR* . The problem comes from the section that covers single-digit addition and subtraction. Here is the ...
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4answers
331 views

What is an effective means to get senior high school students to write their complete working out as part of their answer.

In Australia and in the International Baccalaureate (2 systems I have worked in), for better or worse, mathematics is assessed by criteria. This increases the importance of students to express their ...
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2answers
529 views

How to teach a High school student that complex numbers cannot be totally ordered?

I once again need your precious knowledge! I am not sure which is the best pedagogic way to teach a High school student about why complex numbers cannot be totally ordered. When I was in High school ...
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2answers
576 views

Is “problem solving” a subject to be taught?

Note: This question has been cross-posted to MathOverflow: see here. I am witnessing a new curriculum change in my country (Iran). It includes the change of all the mathematics textbooks at all ...
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0answers
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How to get interest in the mathematics of tax

In a similar vein to my previous thread, I will also be teaching about the mathematics behind taxation - to a lot of people, this is very mundane - but that is not true of everyone. The practicality ...
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2answers
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What is an effective and practical means to teach about natural logarithms and log laws to high school students?

My students are quite practically minded, and I have found that teaching them concepts in a practical manner to be very helpful (maths 'experiments'; modelling on the smartboard etc). I am looking ...
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2answers
5k 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 ...
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26answers
4k views

How to teach mathematical induction?

Some students are not convinced that a proof by mathematical induction is a proof. I have given the analogy of dominoes toppling but still some remain unconvinced. Is there very convincing way of ...
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1answer
70 views

I'm gonna give probability regularization classes

There's this group of high-school level kids that failed probability and they want me to teach them so they can pass that subject, i agreed to be their teacher for this 2 weeks, however i'm not ...
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1answer
100 views

Would this be an effective way to study and comprehend text's?

This is probably a grey area question but I am going to test the waters anyway. What I am thinking of doing would be to basically record myself doing examples from textbooks and making lessons for ...
278
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29answers
39k views

My sister absolutely refuses to learn math [closed]

My 13-year-old sister has a problem which, given the way math is currently taught, I doubt is anything but all too common. She has a low grade in her math course and only ever attempts to memorize ...
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26answers
4k views

Is there a great mathematical example for a 12-year-old?

I've just been working with my 12-year-old daughter on Cantor's diagonal argument, and countable and uncountable sets. Why? Because the maths department at her school is outrageously good, and set ...
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12answers
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explaining the derivative of $x^x$

You set the following exercise to your calculus class: Q1. Differentiate $y(x) = x^x$. A student submits the following solution: Let $g(a)=a^x$ and $f(x)=x$. Then $y(x) = g(f(x))$, so by ...
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0answers
350 views

What is good chalk for lecturing?

This question might be odd, but after watching one of Gilbert Strang's lectures I find I am jealous of his great, smoothly flowing chalk that never seems to get dulled down. Anyone know what it is, or ...
6
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3answers
1k views

Importance of Neatness / Organization / Speed in Math?

Pretty simple question here but it does relate to math. I ask this as my writing is quite messy, possibly a cause of silly mistakes. How important is neatness in math? Does having messy writing put ...
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3answers
341 views

Statistics Workshop for High School Students

We are going to hold an introductory workshop about the statistics. The participants will be students who have just finished their 8th or 9th grade. The workshop consists of 10 two-hour sessions. The ...
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1answer
453 views

Determine if a conic is degenerate with the determinant.

There is a natural bijection between conics (written as homogeneous quadratic) and 3x3 matrices: $$C=aX^2+2bXY+cY^2+2dXZ+2eYZ+fZ^2\Leftrightarrow \left(\begin{array}{ccc} a&b&d\\ ...
4
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1answer
108 views

A zero for a homogeneous polynomial is a zero for the associated inhomogeneous polynomial

I am trying to prove a simple statement from Reid, Undergraduate Algebraic Geometry, pg 16. Let $F(U,V)$ be a nonzero homogeneous polynomial of degree $d$: ...
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4answers
619 views

the role of logic in math and education

My question is somewhat related to this discussion: Is Mathematics one big tautology? I have a computer science background and I have always approached math from the logic point of view ...
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6answers
2k views

Why is the definition of “limit” difficult to understand at first?

Tomorrow I teach my students about limits of sequences. I have heard that the definition of limit is often difficult for students to understand, and I want to make it easier. But first I need to ...
5
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3answers
261 views

learning/teaching approach to rigorous math with the goal of improving

I will state this now: yes, this is a subjective question. But I feel the answers people give may benefit students. I want to get better at doing non trivial proofs. Real analysis is standard ...
5
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0answers
55 views

Optimal partition for a riemann integral

I am a statistician tasked with teaching an elementary calculus course. I am about to teach Riemann sums. The breakpoints for the rectangles (the partition) that make up the Riemann sum need not be ...
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1answer
66 views

Chi square independence test

How to work out chi square independence in the following table? Below is the observed and expected data concerning 7 themes displayed in a newspaper over a period of 3 months. I understand how to ...
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2answers
596 views

The Constant Function Theorem first of all $\,$?

I quote Thomas W.Tucker $\,$ "... By the way, I view the Constant Function Theorem as even more basic than the IFT. It would be nice to use it as our theoretical cornerstone, but I know of no way to ...
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0answers
320 views

These unknown uniformly differentiable functions

Let $f$ be defined on $[a,b]$ and there uniformly differentiable ($\,$the $\delta$ in the definition of derivative is independent of the point). Given $\epsilon>0$, choose a partition $P \, : \, ...
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1answer
194 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 ...
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2answers
408 views

Explaining why we can't “find” an antiderivative of $f(t) = e^{t^2}$.

We can't find $$ \int e^{t^2} \; dt $$ using basic tools from a calculus class. That is, we can't express an antiderivative of $f(t) = e^{t^2}$ using the basic operations. We can of course just ...
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9answers
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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 ...
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1answer
572 views

Complex division: polar form vs complex conjugate

The original problem In an electricity course which I volunteered to help with, the students solve circuits using phasors. Using phasors requires a good knowledge of complex numbers arithmetics, ...
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5answers
911 views

Alternative set theories

This is a (soft!) question for students of set theory and their teachers. OK: ZFC is the canonical set theory we all know and love. But what other, alternative set theories, should a serious student ...
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1answer
631 views

How does one visualize a function with a discontinuous second derivative?

Let us assume that all functions are continuous. I was teaching my calculus students the other day. We were talking about what points of non-differentiability look like. Two ways a function can fail ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Etymology of the word “normal” (perpendicular)

While the word "normal" is one of the most overloaded mathematical terms, in linear algebra, it is usually associated with the notion of being perpendicular to something, as in "normal vector" or ...
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1answer
295 views

Algebraic structures associated to flexagons?

Flexagons strike me as objects that would admit investigation in a first course in modern algebra. I'm surprised to be unable to find a reference discussing flexagons using modern algebra language. ...
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4answers
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Should I try to change the way Abstract Algebra is taught at my university? If so, how?

[This (soft) question should be Community Wiki.] Background: A year ago, I did a one-semester long course on Abstract Algebra at my university. When we started, I was excited, because I knew the ...
525
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151answers
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What was the first bit of mathematics that made you realize that math is beautiful? (For children's book)

I'm a children's book writer and illustrator, and I want to to create a book for young readers that exposes the beauty of mathematics. I recently read Paul Lockhart's essay "The Mathematician's ...
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2answers
911 views

What are the drawbacks of multiple-choice questions? [closed]

I can easily understand the advantage of multiple-choice questions for instance in grading and so. A drawback is that real life problem don't have multiple choice questions all the time for instance ...
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2answers
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What's the problem of using a “stand-up analogy” to demonstrate the concept of set?

I was reading this text about the new math movement, there's a line in which he says: Easy as it looked, teachers didn't always get the notion of "set" straight themselves, and could teach the ...
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2answers
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Is it necessary to know a lot of advance math to become a good junior high/high school teacher?

By "advance math" I refer to Real Analysis, Abstract Algebra and Linear Algebra (to the level of Axler). I received mainly Bs in these courses with the exception of the intro-level Linear Algebra. ...
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3answers
147 views

Where could I learn basic math terminology?

I am an english learner and I would like to learn the etymology of Mathematics. I would like to know the most common phrases in Algebra, and Geometry as well. I want to know at a level of UK's A+. ...
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1answer
197 views

Difference between a Lemma and a Theorem [duplicate]

What essentially is the difference between a lemma and a theorem in mathematics? More specifically, suppose you come across a general result while solving a mathematical problem, what are the ...
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5answers
762 views

Motivation for the importance of topology

Starting from tomorrow, I will be tutoring some undergraduate students following a course in general topology. I am looking for examples motivating the importance of topology in mathematics which can ...
6
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1answer
328 views

How to most efficiently remedy mathematical deficiencies

My spouse and I are currently both pursuing our undergraduate degrees. I'm double majoring in Computer Science & Mathematical Sciences and my spouse is double majoring in Economics & Finance. ...
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1answer
367 views

Chi-square degrees of freedom proof

I need to prove why we have the following result: When: $Y_i=\beta_0+\epsilon_i$, then: $\sum\frac{\epsilon_i^2}{\sigma^2}\sim \chi ^2(n-1)$ Thanks :)
8
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1answer
321 views

Pedagogy of Teaching the Inverse Matrix Method

I am teaching a group of (ordinary rather than honours) second-year engineers and we are studying matrices. I told the class today that as far as I could see we were only studying matrices and, ...
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6answers
6k views

Which Mathematical Analysis I Book or Textbook Is The Best?

I'm in search of a mathematical analysis text that covers at least the same material as Walter Rudin's Principles of ... but does so in much more detail, without relegating the important results to ...
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0answers
71 views

Teaching Student's distribution

While it is fairly straightforward to show the basics of the normal distribution in a first year undergraduate course, how does a teacher provide good intuition when the Student distribution comes in? ...
3
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1answer
102 views

From (algebraic) topology to geometry

I am thinking about a "correct" didactic way of linking topology (algebraic topology) to geometry. Usually, we are taught introducing geometry first, then topology, almost as an abstraction of ...
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1answer
698 views

Is “A and B imply C” equivalent to “For all A such that B, C”?

So I mostly study PDE, harmonic analysis, image processing, and so on, but for whatever reason I decided to be a TA for an undergraduate "introduction to proofs" course this semester. I suppose I ...
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1answer
599 views

Alternative construction of the tensor product (or: pass this secret)

The paper Tensor products and bimorphisms by B. Banachewski and E. Nelson studies tensor products (defined by classifying bimorphisms) in concrete categories. It is quite interesting that their main ...
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How does one best balance learning from a “problem based book” with supplementary material?

We all know that when learning math, one has to do more than just simply read - one must try to solve problems and work actively with the material. Many books try to force the reader to participate ...