For questions related to teaching mathematics. For questions in Mathematics Education as a scientific discipline there is also the tag mathematics-education.

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0answers
2k views

What is the geometric meaning of the third derivative of a function at a point? [closed]

What is the geometric meaning of the third derivative of a function at a point? This question is now asked on the sister site: ...
5
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1answer
649 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 ...
62
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20answers
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 ...
12
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19answers
7k views

Textbook recommendations for undergraduate proof-writing class

I am teaching the proof-writing class (for the 3rd time) in the Fall and plan to buck the party line and use a different text than the default Bond and Keane. My parameters are as follows: Logic, ...
57
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23answers
21k views

What are the most misleading alternate definitions in taught mathematics?

I suppose this question can be interpreted in two ways. It is often the case that two or more equivalent (but not necessarily semantically equivalent) definitions of the same idea/object are used in ...
4
votes
1answer
220 views

Where can I find resources for creating a mathematics “bridge course”?

My department is in the very early stages of developing a "bridge course" or "introduction to proofs" course, motivated by our lower-level courses not currently doing a good job of preparing our ...
13
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13answers
4k views

Looking for an introductory textbook on algebraic geometry for an undergraduate lecture course

I am now supposed to organize a tiny lecture course on algebraic geometry for undergraduate students who have an interest in this subject. I wonder whether there are some basic algebraic geometry ...
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 ...
16
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2answers
878 views

Can the unsolvability of quintics be seen in the geometry of the icosahedron?

Q1. Is it possible to somehow "see" the unsolvability of quintic polynomials in the $A_5$ symmetries of the icosahedron (or dodecahedron)? Perhaps this is too vague a question. Q2. Are there ...
3
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3answers
298 views

undergraduate handle decomposition. Reference

As the title says, I'm searching for a nice textbook for introducing the theory of handle decomposition of manifolds to undergraduate students.
5
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2answers
626 views

An application of Maschke's theorem

I've been teaching some elementary representation theory to undergraduates, and want to provide applications of Maschke's theorem to complex group algebras to present in class. In particular, I'd like ...
5
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9answers
1k views

Suggestions for teaching advanced high school students

Hi all, I'm a grad student and just joined a mentoring program in which I will visit a group of advanced year ten high school students (around 16 years old) from a group of schools in the area. I ...
16
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9answers
7k views

Applications of knot theory

An answer of André Henriques' inspired the following closely related CW question. Parts of the following is extracted from his answer and my comments. I regularly teach a knot theory class. ...
2
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0answers
69 views

Are injective modules flabby on basic open sets?

In order to give a simple proof of a basic fact about quasi-coherent modules (see below), I'm interested in knowing whether the following statement holds: Statement: If $A$ is a commutative ring and ...
0
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1answer
339 views

Teaching profession:Differential Equations and Mean Value Theorems

Usually I teach Algebra,Algebra and Geometyry, Topology, at various University levels. This semester (Spring 2014) I have to teach Differential Equations to University second year students (4th ...
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4answers
410 views

Understanding reasons for best constants in inequalities

Why, in functional analysis, is so important to calculate best constant in an embedding inequality? Cross-posted from ...
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9answers
1k views

math circles video lectures for school children?

Hello, I am from India. I find the mathoverflow amazing. I have a question: Are there any good quality video lectures on school math topics? There are a lot of high quality lectures available on ...
14
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2answers
521 views

How useful/pervasive are differential forms in surface theory?

Every year I teach an introductory class on the differential geometry of surfaces, including numerical aspects (e.g., how to solve PDEs on surfaces). Historically this class has included an ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Bitcoin Research

I have recently been assigned to advise a student on a senior thesis. She has taken linear algebra, introductory real analysis, and abstract algebra. Her interest is in cryptography. And she has a ...
2
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3answers
640 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 ...
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3answers
1k views

The harmonic (series) beetle: live illustrations of mathematical theorems

In my analysis class I use the following problem to illustrate the divergence of the harmonic series (consider this as a hint for solving it). Exercise. A beetle creeps along a 1-meter infinitely ...
33
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4answers
5k views

Are there any “related rates” calculus problems that don't feel contrived?

I just finished teaching a freshman calculus course (at an American state university), and one standard topic in the curriculum is related rates. I taught my students to answer questions such as the ...
7
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5answers
577 views

Easy to state applications of dimension theory in algebraic geometry

Dimension theory is quite a sophisticated topic (at least for me), it is fully settled in Shafarevich's book on the first 100 pages. Shafarevich gives two nice applications of the theory. 1) A proof ...
5
votes
1answer
286 views

Not quite adjoint functors

What are standard and/or natural examples of pairs of functors $F:C\leftrightarrows D:G$ and unnatural bijections $\hom_D(Fx,y)\to\hom_C(x,Gy)$ for all $x$ and $y$? Can one do this so that the ...
10
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3answers
550 views

Calculus Teaching: Is it possible or desirable to give a severely abbreviated treatment of series convergence tests?

I will be teaching Calculus 2 this fall at a large U.S. state university. Our incoming students tend to have a limited or inconsistent background, which limits the amount of material we can cover. ...
47
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32answers
9k views

Demystifying complex numbers

At the end of this month I start teaching complex analysis to 2nd year undergraduates, mostly from engineering but some from science and maths. The main applications for them in future studies are ...
3
votes
2answers
332 views

Integration in several variables and elementary applications

This fall I'm teaching the "second half" of the standard entry-level undergraduate multivariable calculus course: the focus is on double and triple integrals, path integrals, Green's theorem, Stokes' ...
3
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4answers
798 views

Another Chicken or Egg: Sequence or Series

This is a side question which is more motivated by teaching than research. First, I am trying to convince myself that sequences appear before series (as numerical approximations to "interesting" ...
46
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15answers
3k views

Teaching homology via everyday examples

What stories, puzzles, games, paradoxes, toys, etc from everyday life are better understood after learning homology theory? To be more precise, I am teaching a short course on homology, from ...
3
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2answers
449 views

Higher dimensional Bezout via Hilbert polynomials: a reference

For the purposes of teaching my elementary course in algebraic geometry I am looking for a reference (or notes) that contains a complete proof of a higher-dimensional weak Bezout theorem. I only want ...
8
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4answers
867 views

“Classical” consequences of Bezout's theorem in dimensions $>2$

By Classical I mean something that could have been found before 1900 (say). A well known consequence of Bezout's theorem for plane curves is Pascal's theorem ...
4
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3answers
503 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 ...
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!" ...
98
votes
6answers
26k views

Where to buy premium white chalk in the U.S., like they have at RIMS?

While not a research-level math question, I'm sure this is a question of interest to many research-level mathematicians, whose expertise I seek. At RIMS (in Kyoto) in 2005, they had the best white ...
10
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1answer
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Good chalk in the UK

Sometime ago it was asked in Mathoverflow about good chalk in the US Where to buy premium white chalk in the U.S., like they have at RIMS?. I will be grateful for any recommendations on good chalk in ...
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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 ...
2
votes
2answers
515 views

Can this informal argument (for the fact that almost all reals in the unit interval are irrational) be saved?

In the textbook from which I am teaching a Discrete Math course, the authors propose randomly generating an infinite sequence of decimal digits $d_1, d_2, \dots$. We are to think of this as the ...
4
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4answers
419 views

Variation on the Sobolev space $H^1_0$

Let $\Omega\subset\mathbb{R}^n$ be a bounded open set, let $$ C^1_0(\overline\Omega) = \{u\in C^1(\Omega)\cap C(\overline\Omega):u|_{\partial\Omega}=0\}, $$ and let $C^1_c(\Omega)$ be the space of ...
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4answers
2k views

Best way to introduce the Chinese Remainder Theorem (to a high school student)

What do you think to be the most effective way to teach the Chinese remainder theorem to a smart high school student, which is supposed to only have a soft idea about how modular arithmetic works, and ...
25
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6answers
1k views

Does seeing beyond the course you teach matter? The case of linear algebra and matrices

This question is indeed very important for me. Thus I hope you bear with my subjective explanations for a few minutes. I am an "excellent" lecturer, at least according to course evaluation forms ...
37
votes
10answers
6k 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 ...
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4answers
2k views

Help me find good math questions for my students

I am a teacher at 西铁一中。 I teach mathematics in English for students going abroad. Now this is my problem, there are few mathematics books written in English that are at the level of high school, ...
31
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18answers
9k views

Interesting Calculus Questions/Exercises

I am in the process of redesigning the calculus course that I have taught five or six times. What I would like to know is if anyone has some really good examples or exercises that I could either do ...
1
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0answers
440 views

Linear Algebra Text Book

In our department we do not like our current linear algebra book and so we would want to find a better book. This is for the first course in linear algebra and the title of the course is Elementary ...
14
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2answers
1k views

The function $\sum_{0}^{\infty} x^n/n^n$

The function $F(x) = \sum_{0}^{\infty} x^n/n^n$ may be familiar to many readers as an example sometimes used when teaching tests for absolute convergence of entire functions defined by power series. I ...
5
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5answers
899 views

Topics for a matrix analysis course

I recently taught a new (to my department) course titled "Matrix Analysis". For various reasons that I won't go into here, I was dissatisfied with the textbook I (loosely) followed, and with every ...
22
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7answers
2k views

[STILL OPEN] Why are two notions of Gaussian curvature are the same - what is the simplest & most didactic proof?

This question is still wide open - all of the answers so far rely on magical calculations. I've only accepted an answer because, by bounty rules, otherwise one would be accepted automatically. I can't ...
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14answers
2k views

Teaching a pedagogy course

At my institution incoming graduate students must take a semester long course on pedagogy taught by current grad students. I may soon be in the position of having to teach this course and I'm looking ...
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2answers
834 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 ...
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10answers
48k views

What are the qualities of a good (math) teacher? [closed]

In forming your answer you may treat the qualifier math or maths as optional, since part of the question is whether there is anything peculiar to the subject of mathematics that demands anything ...