For questions in Mathematics Education as a scientific discipline. For more hands-on questions on teaching Mathematics, please use the tag teaching. There is also a Stack Exchange community http://matheducators.stackexchange.com/

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119
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29answers
38k views

Real-world applications of mathematics, by arxiv subject area?

What are the most important applications outside of mathematics of each of the major fields of mathematics? For concreteness, let's divide up mathematics according to arxiv mathematics categories, ...
18
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14answers
2k 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 ...
445
votes
187answers
114k views

Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics

The first thing to say is that this is not the same as the question about interesting mathematical mistakes. I am interested about the type of false beliefs that many intelligent people have while ...
18
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10answers
3k views

Research Experience for Undergraduates: Summer Programs

Some time ago, I found this list of REU programs held in 2009. The main aspects that characterize such programs are: (a) a great deal of lectures on specific topics; and, admittedly more ...
30
votes
10answers
2k views

effective teaching

Eric Mazur has a wonderful video describing how physics is taught at many universities and his description applies word for word to the way I learned mathematics and the way it is still being taught, ...
93
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55answers
21k views

What are your favorite instructional counterexamples?

Related: question #879, Most interesting mathematics mistake. But the intent of this question is more pedagogical. In many branches of mathematics, it seems to me that a good counterexample can be ...
19
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6answers
4k views

an engineering Ph.D. teaching math in college

I have a friend who has been teaching college-level math (e.g., all levels of calculus) for about 4 years, although all of his education, including his Ph.D., was in engineering. Now he is ...
24
votes
11answers
2k views

Where have you used computer programming in your career as an (applied/pure) mathematician?

For background: I'm working on a book to help mathematicians learn how to program. However, I need to see some examples from people in the field that have done different kinds of things than I have. ...
47
votes
12answers
7k views

How misleading is it to regard $\frac{dy}{dx}$ as a fraction?

I am teaching Calc I, for the first time, and I haven't seriously revisited the subject in quite some time. An interesting pedagogy question came up: How misleading is it to regard $\frac{dy}{dx}$ as ...
41
votes
10answers
5k views

Possibility of an Elementary Differential Geometry Course

I have to admit I'm not sure if this is an appropriate question. It's related to research in math education, but not directly to math. I've found that in talking to professional physicists and ...
50
votes
6answers
7k views

Is the boundary $\partial S$ analogous to a derivative?

Without prethought, I mentioned in class once that the reason the symbol $\partial$ is used to represent the boundary operator in topology is that its behavior is akin to a derivative. But after ...
41
votes
46answers
14k views

An example of a beautiful proof that would be accessible at the high school level?

The background of my question comes from an observation that what we teach in schools does not always reflect what we practice. Beauty is part of what drives mathematicians, but we rarely talk about ...
1
vote
1answer
143 views

finding permutation matrix I which minimizes TRACE( I* C*( I^T)* D) matrix

I have a problem that is really important for my thesis and i am not studding math so i will be very glad if you help me in this case... thanks for your help in advance I want to find permutation ...
47
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14answers
5k views

How to write popular mathematics well?

Recently, some classmates and I were lamenting the fact that our classmates in other disciplines had almost no conception of what we did, despite the large mathematics population at Waterloo. Instead ...
38
votes
32answers
6k views

Are there any books that take a 'theorems as problems' approach?

Are there any books that present theorems as problems? To be more specific, a book on elementary group theory might have written: "Theorem: Each group has exactly one identity" and then show a proof ...
3
votes
11answers
4k views

Your experience of Computer Science/Programming in Mathematics Education? [closed]

This is a survey question, which seeks to produce a list of answers from the audience of mathematicians. Motivation: I'm doing research in mathematics education. I'm particularly interested in ...
30
votes
21answers
8k views

Why linear algebra is fun!(or ?)

Edit: the original poster is Menny, but the question is CW; the first-person pronoun refers to Menny, not to the most recent editor. I'm doing an introductory talk on linear algebra with the ...
25
votes
2answers
1k views

When exactly and why matrix multiplication became a part of undergraduate curriculum?

The story about Heisenberg inventing matrices and matrix multiplication in 1925 is very well known and well documented. Few weeks later Born and Jordan picked this and recognized the matrix ...
96
votes
7answers
9k views

How to memorise (understand) Nakayama's lemma and its corollaries?

Nakayama's lemma is mentioned in the majority of books on algebraic geometry that treat varieties. So I think Ihave read the formulation of this lemma at least 20 times (and read the proof maybe ...
2
votes
2answers
289 views

Characterizing triangles unembeddedly

The mathedu mailing list has a recent longish thread at http://www.nabble.com/Why-do-we-do-proofs--to25809591.html which discussed among other things whether we should teach triangles as labeled or ...
4
votes
2answers
516 views

Power series with funny behavior at the boundary

Consider a power series $$ \sum_{n=0}^{\infty}a_nz^n $$ where $a_n$ and $z$ are complex numbers. There is radius $R$ of convergence. Let us assume that is a positive real number. It is well known that ...
33
votes
1answer
2k views

Hilbert's Hotel

Hilbert's Hotel is a famous story about infinity attributed to David Hilbert (1862-1943). Is it documented that Hilbert's Hotel is in fact due to Hilbert, and if yes, where?
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Distance between two distribution of image

I am looking for a common distance method to compare two distribution (ex: histogram of image). Please suggest to me some common method to do it. I found some method ex: Bhattacharyya distance , K-L ...
32
votes
7answers
3k views

Why the Killing form?

I'm teaching a short summer course on algebraic groups and it's time to talk about the Killing form on the Lie algebra. The students are all undergrads of varying levels of inexperience, and I try to ...
5
votes
1answer
741 views

Can one live without actual infinity? [closed]

The title of this question is the exact title of one of the sections of a book written by Alexandre Borovik: Mathematics under the Microscope. Under the title, we read: How should we approach the ...
67
votes
20answers
8k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
283 views

Is Independent University of Moscow recognized? [closed]

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 ...
41
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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 ...
27
votes
11answers
3k views

Are there elementary-school curricula that capture the joy of mathematics?

UPDATE: Wow, thank you everyone for the great insights! A couple of months ago I stumbled across Paul Lockhart's essay A Mathematician's Lament and it made perfect sense to me. I'm not meaning to ...
99
votes
37answers
78k views

Too old for advanced mathematics? [closed]

Kind of an odd question, perhaps, so I apologize in advance if it is inappropriate for this forum. I've never taken a mathematics course since high school, and didn't complete college. However, ...
16
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
206
votes
72answers
83k views

Video lectures of mathematics courses available online for free

It can be difficult to learn mathematics on your own from textbooks, and I often wish universities videotaped their mathematics courses and distributed them for free online. Fortunately, some ...
10
votes
7answers
3k views

Leibnizian calculus textbook

Where can I find a calculus textbook that emphasizes differentials? Is there such a book that I could realistically require my calculus students to use? I want a textbook that supports me when I tell ...
12
votes
10answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
622 views

Resources for learning domain theory?

I'm a computer programmer who's caught on to denotational semantics. I mostly work with Ruby, JavaScript and C, but I know a little Haskell and ML. I've taken my first steps towards reasoning about ...
58
votes
73answers
11k views

Elementary+Short+Useful

Imagine your-self in front of a class with very good undergraduates who plan to do mathematics (professionally) in the future. You have 30 minutes after that you do not see these students again. You ...
2
votes
3answers
808 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 ...
51
votes
9answers
3k views

Taking “Zooming in on a point of a graph” seriously

In calculus classes it is sometimes said that the tangent line to a curve at a point is the line that we get by "zooming in" on that point with an infinitely powerful microscope. This explanation ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

Pacing for learning new material

I'm beginning to run into work where I have to do a significant amount of learning of math by myself, with a book rather than with a teacher. Now, I do know that doing problems tends to be the best ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Applications of Euler-Cauchy ODEs

The Euler-Cauchy ODE (2nd order, homogeneous version) is: $$ x^2 y'' + a x y' + b y = 0 $$ Looking in various books on ODEs and a random walk on a web search (i.e. I didn't click on every link, but ...
28
votes
2answers
988 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 ...
15
votes
19answers
12k views

Good combinatorics textbooks for teaching undergraduates?

Hello, can anyone recommend good combinatorics textbooks for undergraduates? I will be teaching a 10-week course on the subject at Stanford, and I assume that the students will be strong and motivated ...
29
votes
6answers
2k views

Taylor's theorem and the symmetric group

Anytime I see an $n!$ in some formula, my instinct is to look for the symmetric group on $n$ letters coming in somewhere. I have never done this seriously with the $n!$ in Taylor's theorem. Question: ...
36
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
11k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Moore method?

Describe your experiences with the Moore method. What are its advantages and disadvantages?
6
votes
12answers
5k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
515 views

Looking for ideas concerning the teaching of lower-division differential equation courses…

I'm looking for problems/lessons plans that could be used in a lower-division differential equations course that involve discerning properties of solutions of an equation, IVP, or BVP, without looking ...
-6
votes
1answer
706 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 ...
50
votes
15answers
7k views

What's a nice argument that shows the volume of the unit ball in $\mathbb R^n$ approaches 0?

Before you close for "homework problem", please note the tags. Last week, I gave my calculus 1 class the assignment to calculate the $n$-volume of the $n$-ball. They had finished up talking about ...
11
votes
5answers
764 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 ...