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Questions tagged [education]

For questions related to the teaching and learning of mathematics. Note that Mathematics Educators Stack Exchange may be a better home for narrowly scoped questions on specific issues in mathematics education.

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Differential Geometry of curves and surfaces: bibliography?

Dear all, next year, I will probably teach a one-semester course of Differential Geomtry of curves and surfaces. Its content must be something along the lines of the first four chapters of Do Carmo's ...
29
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6answers
3k views

Why do we need to prove $e^{u+v} = e^ue^v$?

In this book I'm using the author seems to feel a need to prove $e^{u+v} = e^ue^v$ By $\ln(e^{u+v}) = u + v = \ln(e^u) + \ln(e^v) = \ln(e^u e^v)$ Hence $e^{u+v} = e^u e^v$ But we know from basic ...
69
votes
9answers
36k views

Why is $\pi $ equal to $3.14159…$?

Wait before you dismiss this as a crank question :) A friend of mine teaches school kids, and the book she uses states something to the following effect: If you divide the circumference of any ...
12
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7answers
4k views

Topic for a high school-level math elective?

I'm looking for ideas for a 15-hour mathematical enrichment course in a Chinese high school. What (fairly) elementary subject would you suggest as a topic for such a course? Background/considerations:...
7
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3answers
1k views

Need good material on multifractal analysis

I'm searching for some good reading material on multifractal analysis. Preferably something accessible that doesn't put the stress too much on mathematical proofs but rather on applications. As long ...
1
vote
1answer
666 views

How do you generate mathematical formulas programmatically using a server side language [closed]

We would like to generate simple mathematical formulas on the fly (e.g. $\sin^2 \theta$). The above function seems to be a MathJaX representation. Most of the solutions depend on writing mathematical ...
21
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3answers
4k views

Research Experience for Undergraduates: Summer Programs (that accept non-American applicants)

There are many summer research programs in the United States, targeted at good motivated undergraduate students majoring in mathematics. The main aspects that characterize such programs are: (a) a ...
63
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9answers
49k views

What is the meaning of the third derivative of a function at a point

(Originally asked on MO by AJAY.) What is the geometric, physical, or other meaning of the third derivative of a function at a point? If you have interesting things to say about the meaning of the ...
17
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4answers
2k views

What are or where can I find style guidelines for writing math?

I am a scientist writing my first manuscript with a substantial amount of mathematical methodological documentation. I am using LaTeX, but this is not my question. I would like to find a list of ...
6
votes
1answer
764 views

Geometry or Topology

So, I am a graduate student who is certain that he does not want to do analysis (I think...). What are the most exciting fields in mathematics right now? It seems to me that very generally, they are ...
7
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9answers
1k views

Motivating implications of the axiom of choice?

What are some motivating consequences of the axiom of choice (or its omission)? I know that weak forms of choice are sometimes required for interesting results like Banach-Tarski; what are some ...
3
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2answers
529 views

about math in general

I wanted to ask these questions here, feeling that this place place is without doubt is better than anywhere else, feeling hesitant and shy to ask such question. For several reasons, the environment ...
2
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3answers
348 views

I would like to buy references in order to review and study mathematics [closed]

I am an ESL learner and most of the time I am able to understand English but In my courses, we don't study mathematics, and I think that it is a mistake or wrong. 1-What are really the best sources (...
4
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1answer
402 views

Mathematics Graduate Student Summer Opportunities

I am currently a mathematics graduate student at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY. I am looking for some kind of summer opportunity to participate in during summer 2011. Does anyone ...
36
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8answers
3k views

Quotient geometries known in popular culture, such as “flat torus = Asteroids video game”

In answering a question I mentioned the Asteroids video game as an example -- at one time, the canonical example -- of a locally flat geometry that is globally different from the Euclidean plane. It ...
13
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5answers
3k views

Common misconceptions about math

YARFMO (Yet another reposting from Mathoverflow) ;-) The more you know about math the more you find conceptions previously thought correct to be false: 1.) math is not as exact as many believe - in ...
9
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3answers
2k views

Books that develop interest & critical thinking among high school students

I heard about Yakov Perelman and his books. I just finished reading his two volumes of Physics for Entertainment. What a delightful read! What a splendid author. This is the exact book I've been ...
-1
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4answers
454 views

Which discussion board is good for homework questions? [closed]

I'm a CompSci university student and i want some help for my math questions. Therefore i am looking for a good discussion board for math homework questions. I don't know any (good), because I come ...
114
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40answers
51k views

Why is negative times negative = positive?

Someone recently asked me why a negative $\times$ a negative is positive, and why a negative $\times$ a positive is negative, etc. I went ahead and gave them a proof by contradiction like so: Assume ...
49
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19answers
111k views

How do I explain 2 to the power of zero equals 1 to a child

My daughter is stuck on the concept that $$2^0 = 1,$$ having the intuitive expectation that it be equal to zero. I have tried explaining it, but I guess not well enough. How would you explain the ...
21
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10answers
7k views

Motivating infinite series

What are some good ways to motivate the material on infinite series that appears at the end of a typical American Calculus II course? My students in this course are generally from biochemistry, ...
7
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6answers
2k views

Why Doesn't This Series Converge?

I am teaching a Calc II course and came across the following series when finding the interval of convergence for the Taylor series of $f(x)=\sqrt{x}$ centered at $x=1$: $$ \sum_{n=2}^\infty \frac{1\...
5
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7answers
3k views

Best Cities for Mathematical Study

This may sound silly, but... Suppose an aspiring amateur mathematician wanted to plan to move to another city... What are some cities that are home to some of the largest number of the brightest ...
13
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14answers
3k views

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 ...
1
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2answers
465 views

Is most of the GM-AM Inequality in its codicil?

Let’s define the codicil of the Geometric Mean – Arithmetic Mean Inequality to be the statement that if the means are equal, then all the terms are equal. Then: I conjecture that most of the GM-AM ...
2
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2answers
262 views

What are good elementary examples for teaching/introducing/learning about Intuitionistic Logic or Heyting Algebras?

For example, I have heard of a topological one wherein negation means the interior of the complement (but still would like a reference).
13
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4answers
8k views

Is “locally linear” an appropriate description of a differentiable function?

In this answer on meta, Pete L. Clark said: I think the question concerns the idea that a differentiable curve becomes more and more like a straight line segment the closer one zooms in on its ...
6
votes
2answers
359 views

What are some deep questions that are applicable to first graders in regards to adding zero?

I'm trying to come up with some math problems (word or otherwise) that get to the meaning of adding zero, but I'm getting stuck because it seems just too simple to me. I have come up with questions ...
9
votes
2answers
585 views

How to assess a non-natively english speaking high-schooler's mathematical ability?

I'm a math PhD who has been asked to interview a high school student and determine what he/she is interested in and how strong the student is. Usually I would want them to talk as much as possible ...
19
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7answers
9k views

How to show every subgroup of a cyclic group is cyclic?

I'm teaching a group theory course now, and I wanted to give my students a proof that every subgroup of a cyclic group is cyclic. The easiest way I could think to do this is to say that any cyclic ...
14
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9answers
1k views

Elevator pitch for a (sub)field of maths?

When I first saw the title of this question, I forgot for a moment I was on meta, and thought it was asking about quick, catchy, attractive, informative one-or-two-liner summaries of various fields of ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Alternatives to arxiv

I am an amateur mathematician (but I do have degree's in computer science (with mathematics)). Anyways, I have written this paper, where I have proved that for $\zeta(\rho) = 0$ if $\Im(\rho) \to \...
38
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1answer
6k views

GRE past papers [closed]

As it is required for most students who wish to do a Ph.D in maths in the US to sit the GRE subject specific mathematics exam, I hope this question will be of interest to the mathematical community ...
12
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15answers
27k views

What concepts were most difficult for you to understand in Calculus? [closed]

I'm developing some instructional material for a Calculus 1 class and I wanted to know from experience for yourself, tutoring others, and/or helping people on this site where is the most difficulty in ...
33
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11answers
8k views

Vivid examples of vector spaces?

When teaching abstract vector spaces for the first time, it is handy to have some really weird examples at hand, or even some really weird non-examples that may illustrate the concept. For example, a ...
16
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8answers
18k views

Where to go after calculus?

Ok this is a bit of an unanswerable question, but hopefully someone will answer. As I have been going through college & high school there has been a kind of "path" through which you learn math. ...
29
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11answers
17k views

3D software like GeoGebra

Does it exist a free interactive geometry software, like GeoGebra, which works for 3D geometry? I would be able to draw spheres, great circles, and so on.
4
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3answers
2k views

How to explain Real Big Numbers?

Mathematicians, and esp. number theorists, are used to working with big numbers. I have noted on several occasions that lots of people don't have a clear understanding of big numbers as far as the ...
13
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9answers
4k views

What should the high school math curriculum consist of?

"Life is open book." With the advent of widely accessible, inexpensive (or even free) computational tools and Computer Algebra Systems (TI-89, Wolfram|Alpha, etc.), much of what traditionally ...
9
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7answers
1k views

Can this standard calculus result be explained “intuitively”

Recently I stumbled upon someone who said he wanted to understand why $\arctan x = \int\dfrac{dx}{1+x^2}$ At first I was confused. This is an easy result in any integral calculus course. But then he ...
1
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3answers
567 views

Free introductory resources for learning algebra?

I have a non-mathematician friend who is interested in re-learning algebra. I am more than happy to help, but I am in no position to judge what is a good introductory text --- only to identify when a ...
18
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6answers
9k views

Best intuitive metaphors for math concepts (of any level)

Frequently, we introduce a new concept with a formal definition, then immediately say "Intuitively, what this means is..." What are the absolute best metaphors you've seen (for concepts of any level)? ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

Sources of problems for teaching/tutoring young mathematicians

I am tutoring several talented students, middle school level and early high school level, in mathematics. I am always looking for new sources from which to draw questions. Can anyone recommend books, ...
6
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1answer
607 views

undergraduate courses emphasizing theory building?

I was wondering if anyone had any experience with an undergraduate course that emphasized the building of mathematical theories or if they'd ever heard of this being done? How did the class work (did ...
11
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8answers
2k views

Educational Math Software

What is the the most educational software for high school and college math? Not the one that just gives you the answer, but has any of the following: Edit: Software mentioned in answer added in ...
35
votes
10answers
7k 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 ...
152
votes
7answers
12k views

Why is Euler's Gamma function the “best” extension of the factorial function to the reals?

There are lots (an infinitude) of smooth functions that coincide with f(n)=n! on the integers. Is there a simple reason why Euler's Gamma function $\Gamma (z) = \int_0^\infty t^{z-1} e^{-t} dt$ is the ...
4
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2answers
719 views

What's the most effective ways of teaching kids - times tables?

I'd like to help a $6$ year old who already has a pretty good grasp of $2$, $5$, and $10$ times tables.
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5answers
2k views

Usefulness of Conic Sections

Conic sections are a frequent target for dropping when attempting to make room for other topics in advanced algebra and precalculus courses. A common argument in favor of dropping them is that ...
30
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9answers
28k views

Online Math Degree Programs

Are there any real online mathematics (applied math, statistics, ...) degree programs out there? I'm full-time employed, thus not having the flexibility of attending an on campus program. I also ...