For questions in Mathematics Education as a scientific discipline. For more hands-on questions on teaching Mathematics, please use the tag teaching.

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0answers
103 views

Why do I study a lot but still don't understand the material too well? [on hold]

I had a linear algebra test yesterday and I studied a week in advance for it. I did all the assigned homework questions, past exam questions, problem set questions, but I still did poorly on the test. ...
1
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0answers
179 views

Is Independent University of Moscow recognized? [on hold]

What graduate schools recognize the degree from Independent University of Moscow? It is not a university strictly speaking and their degree doesn't have any official status in Russia, but they claim ...
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0answers
78 views

k to 12 philippines [closed]

i just want to ask this question, hope you will answer..what will happen to students who didn't undergo the senior high school in k to 12, students who graduated in the old curriculum in ched the not ...
2
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3answers
620 views

Assessing effectiveness of (epsilon, delta) definitions [closed]

There is much discussion both in the education community and the mathematics community concerning the challenge of (epsilon, delta) type definitions in calculus and the student reception of them. The ...
-6
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1answer
514 views

V.I. Arnold's high school problem [closed]

According to his interview to the Notices of the AMS, when Vladimir I. Arnold was 12 years old (in 1949) his teacher I.V. Morozkin, gave to his classroom (apparently 6th grade of a soviet primary ...
11
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5answers
566 views

Recreational mathematics: where to search?

I am not sure I can strictly define recreational mathematics. But we all feel what it is about: puzzles, problems you can ask your mathematical friends, problems that will bother them for a couple of ...
54
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10answers
10k views

Is Euclid dead? [closed]

Apparently Euclid died about 2,300 years ago (actually 2,288 to be more precise), but the title of the question refers to the rallying cry of Dieudonné, "A bas Euclide! Mort aux triangles!" ...
39
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18answers
5k views

How can an extremely mathematically talented young person be helped to fulfill his/her potential?

Obviously, this question is not a research level mathematics question at all. But, I've just met an extremely mathematically talented 11 years old student and I don't know how I can help him. For ...
1
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3answers
175 views

Application for functions of the shape $r = f(\theta)$

A fairly ubiquitous object in elementary calculus is a function of the shape $r = f(\theta)$, where $r$ is the radius and $\theta$ the argument. Common examples include the cardiod and limacon, and of ...
38
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7answers
4k views

How do you not forget old math?

I am trying to not forget my old math. I finished my PhD in real algebraic geometry a few years ago and then switched to the industry for financial reasons. Now I get the feeling that I want to do a ...
34
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1answer
2k views

Probability that a stick randomly broken in five places can form a tetrahedron

The following problem was brought to my attention by a doctoral dissertation on Mathematics Education, but - as far as I know - the solution remains unknown. I have already asked this question on ...
16
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12answers
1k views

Insightful books about elementary mathematics

What are some books that discuss elementary mathematical topics ('school mathematics'), like arithmetic, basic non-abstract algebra, plane & solid geometry, trigonometry, etc, in an insightful ...
17
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2answers
1k views

Papers better than books?

Not so long ago I took a class called "Discrete analysis". I remember that I couldn't find any "novice" level material on Mobius functions in combinatorics. So then I went to the roots and read Rota's ...
1
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2answers
323 views

Can one branch of mathematics be completely learned from the perspective of another branch of mathematics? [closed]

This arose from a discussion with a friend (people involved are two engineers) who argued that every result in mathematics should be transformable into another branch. For example, he argued that ...
2
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3answers
293 views

Good Books on the history of Zero

I am looking for books that discuss the origins of the zero, specifically the differences in the use and concept of the zero number among different civilizations (considering also the Mesoamerican ...
7
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2answers
817 views

How should you respond to a student who asks whether a very nice physical example constitutes a proof? [closed]

"Is this really a proof?" is the exact question e-mailed to me today from an undergraduate mathematics student whom I know as a highly competent student. The one sentence question was accompanied with ...
8
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7answers
1k views

Review papers in mathematics

Are there review papers, literature reviews in mathematics that describe the recent developments in various fields for a newcomer? Or is the prerequisite knowledge always provided in research ...
2
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4answers
948 views

When did you “meet Polya”? [closed]

I guess most of us didn't meet Polya in person (this is the answer to the title)! Perhaps, it is much easier to guess that most of us have met one of his writings (or alike) on problem solving, and ...
23
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3answers
1k views

Is “problem solving” a subject to be taught?

I am witnessing a new curriculum change in my country (Iran). It includes the change of all the mathematics textbooks at all grades. The peoples involved has sent me the textbook for seven graders (13 ...
28
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2answers
886 views

Schubert calculus, as lowbrow as possible

Starting in a week I'm going to be an instructor at a summer program for exceptionally mathematically talented high school students, and I'm going to be teaching a class on Schubert calculus. The ...
23
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3answers
1k views

Nearly all math classes are lecture+problem set based; this seems particularly true at the graduate level. What are some concrete examples of techniques other than the “standard math class” used at the *Graduate* level?

In the fall, I am teaching one undergraduate and one graduate course, and in planning these courses I have been thinking about alternatives to the "standard math class". I have found it much easier ...
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3answers
653 views

Where is the belly button of the Universe? [closed]

It's fine and nice and wonderful when a part of learning mathematics is chaotic, ad hoc, spontaneous, social, ... However it would be perhaps of fundamental value to know a very central point of ...
11
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2answers
670 views

Anything special (historical?) about surface $x\cdot y\cdot z\ +\ x+y+z=0$?

QUESTION I wanted to introduce and develop the complex logarithm from scratch. As the result I've arrived a couple of months ago at the following identity after which the road to complex logarithm is ...
37
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19answers
5k views

Are there proofs that you feel you did not “understand” for a long time?

Perhaps the "proofs" of ABC conjecture or newly released weak version of twin prime conjecture or alike readily come to your mind. These are not the proofs I am looking for. Indeed my question was ...
0
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1answer
317 views

Sierpinski Triangle and the Chaos Game

The chaos game is a way to construct (an approximation) of Sierpinski triangle. It's clear (using Thales' theorem!) that if we begin with a point on the sierpinski triangle, then we will never leave ...
5
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5answers
2k views

What does a mathematician expect from mathematics education? [closed]

Consider that my question is not a personal and/or subjective question. Perhaps, you have hired a mathematics educator in your department and you are interested in finding a way to communicate with ...
4
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4answers
497 views

Lecture on Fractals for Middle School Students

I'm going to have a one-hour lecture for middle school students next Monday. It will be about fractals. The students know virtually nothing about this subject. I'll show some fractal images and a few ...
5
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1answer
645 views

Why do mathematicians prefer one definition over the other when they both define the same concept?

Here is a basic, though very important, example: Hilbert takes as primary the notion of “congruence” (or “equal”) between segments. His first axiom of congruence “requires the possibility of ...
8
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2answers
769 views

Reference for a nice proof of “undetermined coefficients”

I'm teaching an honors differential equations class and have been using linear algebra heavily. I thought it would be interesting to include a proof of the method of undetermined coefficients along ...
8
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1answer
675 views

Topology, the board game

Edit: I am reposting this question fom math.stackexchange.com; there may be some professors here who have more experience teaching topology. This is a math education question that I've been thinking ...
5
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2answers
650 views

Faculty Handbook: Mentoring Undergraduates in Research and Scholarship

A few days ago I was asked by the director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship at Georgia Regents University (formerly known as MCG and Augusta State) to contribute an article for ...
3
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1answer
616 views

Math major at 36 [closed]

I decided to go for math at 36. Is this idea possible? I studied literature, political science and international relations and still I am not really sure what I am doing. Since I was kid, I was not ...
19
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10answers
2k views

Learning through guided discovery

I have been working through Kenneth P. Bogart's "Combinatorics Through Guided Discovery". You can download it from this page: http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/news-resources/electronic/kpbogart/ I've ...
15
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2answers
1k views

What is the history of $\sqrt{}$

Why we use the symbol $\sqrt{}$ when we take square roots ? Anybody knows the history ?
12
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7answers
2k views

Usage of set theory in undergraduate studies

I would like to ask my colleagues their thought on good practices concerning set theorical framework in undergraduate studies. For example, have there been any attempt to use another mathematical ...
6
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12answers
4k views

Useless math that became useful

I'm writing an article on Lychrel numbers and some people pointed out that this is completely useless. My idea is to amend my article with some theories that seemed useless when they are created but ...
7
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0answers
1k views

What can we do to raise awareness of reciprocity laws? [closed]

The study of reciprocity laws is a centerpiece of modern mathematics. Of the last ten Fields Medalists, two of them (Ngô Bảo Châu and Laurent Lafforgue) were awarded Fields Medals for their work on ...
6
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4answers
525 views

Seeking a Geometric Proof of a Generalized Alternating Series' Convergence

Let $z \in \mathbb{C} \backslash \lbrace 1 \rbrace$ with $|z| = 1$. We consider the following infinite series, which necessarily converges: $$S(z) := \sum_{n = 1}^{\infty}\frac{z^n}{n}$$ Note that ...
15
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4answers
2k views

Is $x \, \tan(x)$ integrable in elementary functions?

I'm teaching Calculus and my students asked me to calculate the integral of $x \, \tan(x)$. I spent quite a lot of effort to do this, but I'm now even not sure if the integral could be presented in ...
56
votes
19answers
7k views

“Mathematics talk” for five year olds

I am trying to prepare a "mathematics talk" for five year olds from my daughter's elementary school. I have given many mathematics talks in my life but this one feels very tough to prepare. Could the ...
2
votes
2answers
384 views

Function with all but mixed second partial derivatives twice differentiable?

Let $f(x,y)$ be a a real valued function on an open subset of $\mathbf{R}^2$ with continuous partial derivatives $\frac{\partial^2 f}{\partial x^2}$ and $\frac{\partial^2}{\partial y^2}$. Is $f$ twice ...
6
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5answers
1k views

Advantages of the sequence definition of limits

I will be teaching an introductory analysis course in the coming semester. In it the students will learn about limits of real sequences, and then will learn about limits of functions in terms of ...
4
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0answers
223 views

MathJax (or something like it) as a classroom “blackboard”

(I tried this first at http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/187265/mathjax-or-something-like-it-as-a-classroom-blackboard , but didn't get satisfactory responses.) What is the best desktop ...
12
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10answers
2k views

Undergraduate Topology

I am developing an introductory topology course for undergraduates, and I am wondering what topics to cover. At my institution, real analysis is not a prerequisite for the course, so it is more than ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Battle of the brains; cultural mathematics

Firstly, I apologize if my question is long. Three years ago, I watched a video with the name Battle of the Brains. It was a wonderful video about challenging some famous peoples to solve some ...
13
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1answer
660 views

Classroom platonism

I'd like to know whether any form a certain hypothesis about the learning of higher mathematics has entered the mathematical or educational literature. I'll frame the hypothesis here but not defend ...
1
vote
0answers
448 views

Arguments against Reductio ad Absurdum [closed]

Could Reductio ad Absurdum not be consireded a valid proof method? Are there any compelling arguments against it, or at it's favor? I feel like I am assuming some metamathematical hypothesis about my ...
6
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2answers
1k views

Advice on doing physics under the umbrella of mathematics and the converse

Note: This is a question directly copied from Theoretical Physics SE primarily to get the advice of people indulged in mathematics. In the current scenario of research in QFT and string theory (and ...
8
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4answers
1k views

Differential Equation Examples for Calculus Students

I've been teaching calculus courses for a while now, and something always bothers me each time I teach it. Students always seem to have trouble connecting with the differential equation material for ...
15
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7answers
1k views

Unexpected applications of the fact that nth degree polynomials are determined by n+1 points

I had a funny idea for proving an identity in Euclidean geometry. While it didn't end up being a very nice proof strategy in my case, I would still like to collect nice examples of where the proof ...