# Questions tagged [mathematics-education]

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/

251
questions

**33**

votes

**15**answers

3k views

### Historical (personal) examples of teaching-based research

The phrase "teaching-based research" brings to mind research about teaching, though important, it is not what I mean. Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with a better phrase, thus please bear with me ...

**74**

votes

**24**answers

17k views

### Parodies of abstruse mathematical writing

Perhaps under the influence of a recent question
on perverse sheaves,
in conjunction with the impending $\pi$-day (3/14/15 at 9:26:53),
I recalled a long-ago parody of abstruse mathematical language
...

**3**

votes

**0**answers

172 views

### Applications of Freiman's theorem?

What are some interesting applications of Freiman's theorem or, better-yet, its recent generalizations (eg Green-Ruzsa) that could be included in a graduate course in additive combinatorics?
I'm ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

1k 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 ...

**42**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### When exactly and why did matrix multiplication become a part of the undergraduate curriculum?

The story about Heisenberg inventing matrices and matrix multiplication in 1925 is very well known and well documented. A few weeks later, Born and Jordan read this work and recognized matrix ...

**7**

votes

**2**answers

2k 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 ...

**34**

votes

**1**answer

3k 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

**1**answer

162 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 ...

**1**

vote

**0**answers

1k 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 ...

**10**

votes

**5**answers

2k 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 ...

**-5**

votes

**1**answer

2k 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 ...

**29**

votes

**9**answers

6k 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 ...

**76**

votes

**11**answers

17k views

### Is Euclid dead?

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!" (...

**48**

votes

**18**answers

7k 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 ...

**0**

votes

**3**answers

257 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 ...

**86**

votes

**9**answers

24k 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 ...

**55**

votes

**1**answer

5k views

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

Edit (June 2015): Addressing this problem is a brief project report from the Illinois Geometry Lab (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), dated May 2015, that appears here along with a foot-...

**33**

votes

**18**answers

3k 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 way?...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

2k 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 ...

**0**

votes

**2**answers

770 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 ...

**3**

votes

**3**answers

783 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**

votes

**2**answers

1k 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**

votes

**7**answers

4k 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**

votes

**4**answers

1k 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 ...

**26**

votes

**3**answers

3k 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 ...

**33**

votes

**2**answers

3k 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 ...

**25**

votes

**3**answers

3k 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 ...

**20**

votes

**2**answers

1k 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 ...

**68**

votes

**22**answers

10k 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**

votes

**1**answer

659 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 ...

**7**

votes

**5**answers

3k 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 ...

**5**

votes

**4**answers

859 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**

votes

**1**answer

802 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 ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

2k 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**

votes

**1**answer

845 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 ...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

734 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**

votes

**1**answer

761 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 ...

**24**

votes

**11**answers

4k 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**

votes

**2**answers

5k views

### What is the history of $\sqrt{}$

Why we use the symbol $\sqrt{}$ when we take square roots ? Anybody knows the history ?

**12**

votes

**7**answers

5k 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 ...

**23**

votes

**16**answers

11k 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 ...

**11**

votes

**4**answers

1k 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 $S(...

**17**

votes

**4**answers

4k 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 ...

**106**

votes

**25**answers

15k 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

**2**answers

677 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 ...

**7**

votes

**5**answers

4k 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 ...

**5**

votes

**0**answers

270 views

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

(I tried this first at https://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 ...

**17**

votes

**10**answers

5k 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

**3**answers

3k views

### Battle of the brains; cultural mathematics [closed]

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**

votes

**1**answer

974 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
...