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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When $n$ is divided by $14$, the remainder is $10$. What is the remainder when $n$ is divided by $7$?

I need to explain this to someone who hasn't taken a math course for 5 years. She is good with her algebra. This was my attempt: Here's how this question works. To motivate what I'll be doing, ...
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4answers
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Simple examples of math problems illustrating a basic epistemological point.

Instructor: In fact this expression is equal to that expression. Let us see how we can convince ourselves that that is true. Student: I'm more than willing to take your word for it! You're the ...
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2answers
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When does L' Hopital's rule fail?

This thought jumped out of me during my calculus teaching seminar. It is well known that the classical L'Hospital rule claims that for the $\frac{0}{0}$ indeterminate case, we have: $$ ...
443
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138answers
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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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31answers
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What are some conceptualizations that work in mathematics but are not strictly true?

I am having an argument with someone who thinks that it's never justified to teach something that is not strictly correct. I disagree: often, the pedagogically most efficient way to make progress is ...
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1answer
49 views

“Real world” applications of rational functions

I need a rational function/equation beyond the contrived d=rt and work problems typically given in beginner algebra. I am teaching such a class and would like to motivate the study of techniques for ...
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12answers
10k 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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0answers
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Teaching determinants

I am writing a first handout on determinants. The intended audience is confident with basic matrix algebra and the basic definitions of vector space theory. I just wondered if someone would comment on ...
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1answer
70 views

Polynomial identities

When I was about 17 our teacher showed us how polynomial identities had equal coefficients. I remember him showing that this was so by moving one polynomial "over to the other side" and showing that ...
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13answers
9k views

In calculus, which questions can the naive ask that the learned cannot answer?

Number theory is known to be a field in which many questions that can be understood by secondary-school pupils have defied the most formidable mathematicians' attempts to answer them. Calculus is not ...
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1answer
75 views

Teaching the Concept of Infinity to Children.

I was recently out with the family and we left it up to the children where we ate lunch (11 and 9 years old). They couldn't agree and were going back and forth calling each other names. This ...
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35answers
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Do complex numbers really exist?

Complex numbers involve the square root of negative one, and most non-mathematicians find it hard to accept that such a number is meaningful. In contrast, they feel that real numbers have an obvious ...
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10answers
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Are there 3 trig functions or are there 6 trig functions?

In my algebra class we are being taught that there are only the 3 basic trig functions (cosine, sine, and tangent). But my friend who is 2 math grade levels ahead of me is saying that there is 6 trig ...
3
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5answers
373 views

How to explain infinty to a $3^{rd}$ grader?

In my country in $3^{rd}$ grade in math kids learn the four basic arithmetic operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication and divison) up to $10 000$. My sister this year goes to $3^{rd}$ grade ...
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20answers
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What is your favorite application of the Pigeonhole Principle?

The pigeonhole principle states that if $n$ items are put into $m$ "pigeonholes" with $n > m$, then at least one pigeonhole must contain more than one item. I'd like to see your favorite ...
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7answers
116 views

Classic Counting Problems

Does anyone have some good, classic, counting problems? I want things that are interesting, as well as instructive- more than just compute the number of way to get a flush, etc. (Not that those aren't ...
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0answers
52 views

Where to post a Calculus review guide?

I created a PDF document (using LaTeX) in which I wrote relevant review materials and Calculus problems for Calculus 1, 2, and 3. Is there an appropriate forum where I could try to post this to ...
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11answers
4k views

How do you define functions for non-mathematicians?

I'm teaching a College Algebra class in the upcoming semester, and only a small portion of the students will be moving on to further mathematics. The class is built around functions, so I need to ...
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0answers
90 views

Helping a reluctant 12 year old. [closed]

My 12 year old daughter needs to strengthen her math skills. My strategy up until a year or so ago has been pretty relaxed. I subscribe to the idea that the best motivation for learning is the ...
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15answers
2k views

Explaining Horizontal Shifting and Scaling

I always find myself wanting for a clear explanation (to a college algebra student) for the fact that horizontal transformations of graphs work in the opposite way that one might expect. For example, ...
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16answers
5k views

Interesting “real life” applications of serious theorems

As a student one sometimes encounters exercises which ask you to solve a rather funny "real life problem", e.g. I recall an exercise on the Krein-Milman theorem which was something like: "You have a ...
116
votes
31answers
11k 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 ...
5
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2answers
98 views

$2^{1/4} \times 4^{1/8} \times 8^{1/16} \times 16^{1/32} \times \ldots\to2$

$2^{1/4} \times 4^{1/8} \times 8^{1/16} \times 16^{1/32} \times \ldots\to2$ How can I explain this to a school student who doesn't know what a limit is?
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24answers
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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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14answers
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Why negative times negative = positive?

Someone recently asked me why a negative * a negative is positive, and why a negative * a positive is negative, etc. I went ahead and gave them a proof by contradiction like so: Assume $(-x) * (-y) ...
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0answers
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Mathematics teaching positions in the UK

crossposted to http://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/24065/mathematics-teaching-position-in-the-uk I hold a PhD in pure mathematics and am looking for mathematics teaching positions in the UK, ...
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5answers
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Is $ 5 $ nearer to $ 0 $ or $ 10 $?

My 6-year-old’s homework was “to find the nearest $ 10 $.” For example, $$ 42 \to 40 \quad \text{and} \quad 28 \to 30. $$ For $ 55 $, she answered “$ 50 $” and was marked wrong. How is this wrong? ...
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13answers
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False beliefs in mathematics (conceptual errors made despite, or because of, mathematical education)

Over on mathoverflow, there is a popular CW question titled: Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics. I thought it would be nice to have a parallel question on this site to serve as a ...
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6answers
833 views

Purpose of Linear Algebra

How much emphasizes should be on proof on a first course in Linear Algebra? I sometimes feel that they (proofs) crowd out a coherent vision for linear algebra. However I also think a central theme 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
125 views

Questions for first year students at the University. [closed]

I will help teach in a introductory class in mathematics for engineers in applied math at the University. Anyone have any good and cool favorite questions or know where I can find some? Anything is ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

What are real applications of factorization of integers?

Why is factorization of integers important on a first number theory course? Where is factorization used in real life? Are there examples which have a real impact? I am looking for examples which will ...
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25answers
6k views

“Negative” versus “Minus”

As a math educator, do you think it is appropriate to insist that students say "negative $0.8$" and not "minus $0.8$" to denote $-0.8$? The so called "textbook answer" regarding this question reads: ...
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6answers
192 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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2answers
45 views

Binomial expansion for any n

I teach A-Level maths, and in the second year we do the general binomial expansion, which is even provided for the students in the formula book. For values of $n$ that are not positive integers: (I ...
9
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4answers
582 views

The Power of Taylor Series

I am teaching a Calculus class and we are finishing up power/Taylor series this week. The last section of the chapter is on applications, but the only ones listed there are approximating non-rational ...
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6answers
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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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10answers
429 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
57 views

Instructive video content for High School kids?

I need some math Youtube channels (or any other visual media, movies maybe...) that I can recommend to High School students, not solely as a method of learning math but more to illustrate the beauty ...
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1answer
79 views

How is addition on N formally defined in textbooks on real analysis?

This is a follow-up question to Why does the definition of addition require proofs? In Landau's Foundations of Analysis, his definition of addition on the natural numbers seems a bit strange to me -- ...
0
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1answer
75 views

Using math to help people [duplicate]

So I am currently a graduate student at the University of Colorado. I love math. From calculus to category theory to everything in between, I have tried and, for the most part, loved it. However, I ...
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6answers
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Real life applications of general vector spaces

Students familiar with Euclidean space find the introduction of general vectors spaces pretty boring and abstract particularly when describing vector spaces such as set of polynomials or set of ...
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1answer
31 views

A basis in the $k$-th exterior power of a vector field

Definition: Let $\mathbb R^n$ be the $n$-dimensional real vector space. An exterior $k$-form call any skew-symmetric tensor on $\mathbb R^n$ of rank $k$. Denote the set of exterior $k$-forms by $E^k$. ...
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votes
2answers
243 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 ...
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8answers
930 views

Should a high school introductory calculus class teach $\varepsilon$-$\delta$ proofs?

It seems to me that most high school students are comfortable with the intuitive notion of a limit ("as $x$ gets arbitrarily close to $c$, $f(x)$ gets arbitrarily close to $L$") and gain little ...
23
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9answers
567 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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2answers
117 views

Measure Theory or Set Theory?

Having taken Real Analysis I before (the seven first chapters of baby Rudin) I have the option to take Measure Theory now. However I am torn between that and Set Theory. Which course would you go for ...
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1answer
100 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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1answer
41 views

One and Two Tailed Independent T Test Questions

The city council for a small town has been receiving complaints from local law enforcement that citizens have been extremely uncooperative when pulled over for minor traffic violations. To remedy ...
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4answers
455 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 ...