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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138 views

How to construct a cube

My friend has asked me this question. I have no idea how to answer, but I think the question is interesting enough to be noted here: Consider 3 pieces of wire (not necessary of equal length). Is it ...
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7answers
343 views

Is there a name for this type of logical fallacy?

Consider a statement of the form: $A$ implies $B$, where $A$ and $B$ are true, but $B$ is not implied by $A$. Example: As $3$ is odd, $3$ is prime. In this case, it is true that $3$ is odd, and ...
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1answer
125 views

Homogeneity Versus Heterogeneity in Student Groups

There is an overwhelming amount of research regarding homogeneous and heterogeneous grouping in education. The former refers to the practice of grouping "like" students together (regarding age, ...
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2answers
175 views

Software for visualizing partial derivatives?

I'm whipping up a set of notes, and I want to include a diagram or two showing some partial derivatives. Specifically, a diagram would include: a 3D surface of the form z=f(x,y), a plane of the form ...
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0answers
111 views

What's the acceptance of rational trigonometry in current mathematics courses?

I've been reading about Wildberger's rational trigonometry and I'm willing to learn it. I'm wondering if it's usage is accepted in undergraduate mathematics courses. It seems there's a redefinition on ...
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12answers
11k views

How to convince a math teacher of this simple and obvious fact?

I have in my presence a mathematics teacher, who asserts that $$ \frac{a}{b} = \frac{c}{d} $$ Implies: $$ a = c, \space b=d $$ She has been shown in multiple ways why this is not true: $$ ...
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2answers
3k views

Is there a way of intuitively grasping the magnitude of Graham's number?

I have heard it stated before that Graham's number is so vast that it is completely beyond comprehension. It is way larger than the number of atoms in the universe, so cannot be related to real ...
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3answers
175 views

Operations on negative integers

I was trying to teach my younger sister some math, and it drifted on to integers, and operations on negative integers. So questions like: a) $-3+2 = ?$ b) $2- (-3)= ?$ c)$-3 -2 = ?$ had to be ...
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1answer
378 views

Examples of Metaphors in Statistics and Probability?

I have a couple of questions about teaching of Probability and Statistics for high school students: 1. Can I find metaphors for the teaching of basic concepts of Probability and Statistics? (Please, ...
0
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1answer
183 views

Graphical Demonstration of Linear Transformations on $\mathbb{R}^2$

I'm looking for some applet, program, software, demonstration etc. to use it in a class while teaching linear transformation in $\mathbb{R}^2$, so that the students can graphically understand the ...
4
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1answer
192 views

Learning Complex Analysis: Integrals vs. Power Series - ordering the development of results.

Over the last few months, I have been visiting elementary complex analysis. My exposure to complex analysis is pretty much limited to the material in three books: Ahlfors, Bak/Newman, and ...
3
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2answers
145 views

What is an effective means to make divisibility tests a mathematical 'habit', particularly for algebra?

Divisibility tests are a useful problem-solving technique for particularly dealing with larger numbers (thousands etc) and algebraic problems. However, I have always found that many students will just ...
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2answers
153 views

Request for reference and technical support [closed]

I am going to write my master thesis in order to become a teacher of mathematics (with second subject business management). Supported by the ERASMUS program I have the opportunity to do this in ...
4
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3answers
93 views

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
334 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 ...
7
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2answers
552 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 ...
10
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2answers
616 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 ...
3
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0answers
97 views

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 ...
4
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2answers
97 views

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 ...
14
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2answers
6k 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 ...
279
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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 ...
62
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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
2k views

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
382 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 ...
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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
359 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
490 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
votes
1answer
112 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
669 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 ...
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3answers
277 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 ...
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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 ...
0
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1answer
67 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 ...
5
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2answers
613 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 ...
2
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0answers
321 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
234 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
418 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 ...
28
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9answers
3k views

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 ...
2
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1answer
640 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
939 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 ...
7
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1answer
679 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 ...
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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 ...
12
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1answer
300 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
2k views

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 ...
547
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153answers
34k views

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
1k 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
220 views

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 ...