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Questions tagged [examples]

For questions about examples for some mathematical subject – usually for purposes of motivation and illustration.

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4
votes
5answers
674 views

Algorithmic thinking problems

In Norway we will have a new national mathematics curriculum for all ages including high school beginning august 2020. A fundamental change is the new focus on so called algorithmic thinking. In ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

How to address opportunities for improvement with a teacher

My daughter’s 5th grade teacher gives some pretty impossible questions and I don’t think she understands the material she’s teaching. For example, this question has no context from previous questions ...
2
votes
2answers
154 views

Introductory exercise for the addition of large natural numbers

I'm starting a repetition with my students in 5th grade after they learned in elementary school how to sum up larger natural numbers (also 5- to 6-digits) by writing down that calculation. As ...
3
votes
0answers
80 views

The propagation of the wave equation in even versus odd dimension

I am about to teach a second year undergraduate class on applied differential equation (first time) and, while I won't have time to go into the details, I wanted to show my students the difference ...
0
votes
2answers
68 views

Examples for environmental topics in the context of terms or linear inequalities

I want to emphasize the aspect of environmental education in my math class. Now I'm reasoning whether to do that with linear inequalities or terms with two variables - these are our next topics. The ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

Applied ODEs for Numerical Methods

I am looking for a list of ODEs to use as examples in the teaching of a numerical methods course for engineers. I am looking for first and second order examples - the more applied (to engineering) ...
8
votes
4answers
488 views

Easy examples of correspondence between global and local, as preparation for Gauss's theorem and Stokes's theorem

I'm teaching freshman electricity and magnetism this semester, and as usual in this type of course, I will need to teach my students a lot of vector calculus before they see it in a math course. The ...
8
votes
2answers
219 views

Examples of application problems of coordinate geometry in the complex plane?

I am currently writing some basic introductory texts to complex numbers for third-year high school students (Denmark). My main goal is to introduce complex numbers as a practical tool that both ...
5
votes
3answers
302 views

Examples of solving for unknowns using equivalence relations that are not equality, inequality, or boolean truth?

In a book i'm writing, i want to introduce students to equations in slightly more general terms. Solving an equation with some unknown is just one example of finding an object by fact that it is a ...
6
votes
4answers
317 views

Ideas for the introduction of the derivative?

I want to introduce to my class to the derivative, but I am still searching for a good, realistic context that isn't too hard to understand, without seeming to be contrived. Do you have an ideas for ...
6
votes
4answers
543 views

Real-life exceptions to PEMDAS?

What are some real-life exceptions to the PEMDAS rule? I am looking for examples from "real" mathematical language --- conventions that are held in modern mathematics practice, such as those appearing ...
5
votes
2answers
134 views

Published papers for Intro Stat students to read

I am looking for studies and experiments in the literature that I can share with undergraduate students in an intro statistics course. I do not expect students to understand everything, and I plan to ...
7
votes
6answers
917 views

is it appropriate or beneficial to mention weird results in math?

Is it appropriate to mention weird/exciting results in math (or use as cautionary tales why one cannot apply mathematics naively) in say high school level? Examples of these results include the ...
4
votes
2answers
80 views

A Markov chain demonstration that doesn't require computers

I have a large probability class and would like to do some memorable demonstrations of Markov chains for them. Does anyone have any recommendations for a "low-tech" demo that doesn't involve ...
3
votes
2answers
94 views

A good example to show group actions and Burnside's lemma

I want to make a presentation of Burnside's lemma outside of group theory, and more as the stand-alone combinatorial tool that it can also be. My plan right now is to make it into a 15-20 minute video,...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

What is a realistic situation that illustrates precisely what a p-value is?

Students in the basic statistics courses I teach often learn a little bit of probability and then learn hypothesis testing. The core concept that ties the course together is the p-value, but most ...
4
votes
1answer
124 views

Using discrete examples in the beginning of integration

In Germany, one usual example to start teaching about integrals is to look at a simple (piecewise constant or with constant slope) functions that make up a water flow vs. time diagram and ask about ...
12
votes
3answers
421 views

Examples (for beginners) of real functions which are not given by elementary formulae

Question: What are good examples of functions $f: \Bbb R \rightarrow \Bbb R$ (or $f: D \rightarrow \Bbb R$ with $D \subseteq \Bbb R$) which are not just given by "a formula" (or finitely many formulae ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Good real-life examples of transformations of function graphs

I am a graduate student teaching college algebra at a larger state school, and currently I'm covering transformations of graphs of function, i.e.: Given the graph of a function $y =f(x)$, what do ...
7
votes
6answers
377 views

Simple, elegant ways to teach the idea of what functions are for the first time

The context In my country, when the concept of function needs to be introduced in math classes, most teachers will simply talk about $f(x)=c$, $f(x)=ax+b$ and $f(x)=1/x$ (constant, linear and inverse ...
4
votes
3answers
258 views

What tools are available for creating visual aids?

I would like to create some visual aids for illustrating principles in statistics, similar to the kind of graphic found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_regression#/media/File:Anscombe%...
15
votes
13answers
2k views

Mnemonics for some properties in mathematics

I am looking for various mnemonics which help students to remember some important properties or theorems. Very often students confuse signs or relations such as $\leq$ and $\geq$ in some expressions. ...
68
votes
15answers
18k views

What's a replacement for “married couples” in combinatorics problems?

Many counting problems start with the assumption that we have a certain number of men and women or a certain number of couples, with the assumption (often unstated) being that that gender is binary (...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

“Real world” examples of implicit functions

When teaching implicit differentiation in freshman calculus I lack good examples which might help students relate the theory to applications in other sciences. So I'm looking for (relatively simple) ...
4
votes
5answers
116 views

Books and worksheets on symmetry

At a local Math Circle, I loved some problems worked out through a hinged mirror to illustrate symmetry. I bought a hinged mirror from hand2mind.com, and am looking for some material, ideally books ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Real-world Markov chains

I will give a talk to undergrad students about Markov chains. I would like to present several concrete real-world examples. However, I am not good with coming up with them beyond drunk man taking ...
13
votes
8answers
786 views

Examples of basic non-commutative rings

I am teaching an intro to ring theory, and after grading the first quiz, I realize most of my students are under the assumption that rings must be commutative. I have given them the example of ...
10
votes
9answers
386 views

Simple examples that violate group axioms

In a course for non-math-majors at a liberal arts college, I would like to give a few lectures and activities about groups and symmetry. I think it's straightforward to explain the group axioms and ...
13
votes
6answers
389 views

Is there a simple real-world problem I can use to motivate a formula for $\displaystyle \sum_{i=1}^n i $?

I would like to know if there is a simple real-world problem which requires knowing a closed form for $\displaystyle \sum_{i=1}^n i$ and/or the sum of the first $n$ even/odd numbers. The only ...
5
votes
1answer
246 views

Benefits of knowing theory [closed]

I've got an issue: from time to time I have to teach some math to people who either avoided it, or got through by only knowing a few working algorithms. The only thing that unites all those people: ...
16
votes
9answers
774 views

Evaluating integrals geometrically, without using the fundamental theorem of calculus

I'm designing a lesson for an Introduction to Integral Calculus class, and I want to encourage students to evaluate integrals without just going straight for the antiderivative and using the ...
8
votes
9answers
330 views

Good metaphor to explain the difference between pointwise and uniform convergence

What could be a good "layman" metaphor for illustrating the difference between uniform and pointwise convergence of function series? I am teaching calculus to engineering undergrads; for many of them, ...
5
votes
2answers
292 views

Small data sets with integral sample standard deviations

I'm looking for small data sets ($N\approx10$) that have integral (or even rational) sample standard deviations. Given a list of observations $\{x_1,\ldots,x_N\}$ with mean $\bar{x}$, the sample ...
7
votes
7answers
3k views

Monte Carlo real life examples

I want to introduce Monte Carlo methods for a group of 16-18-years-old high school students. Besides classic examples (coin flips and count of heads/tails, rolls of a pair of dice) which other ...
4
votes
3answers
84 views

Example illustrating use of additivity of (probability) measures before introducing independence and conditioning

I would like to be able to illustrate why additivity is a natural property to assume for probability measures. While it is relatively simple to give a short hand waving intuitive analogy to volume or ...
14
votes
4answers
520 views

How would you explain what a PDE is to a very educated layman with no math background?

Is every mathematical concept, even the complex ones, explainable? As someone who will be needing to explain my line of work for a position to a committee who is very, very, educated, just not in ...
2
votes
1answer
105 views

Proving convergence or divergence of series: tips and recommendations

This is a follow up of my question on MSE. Which tips and recommendations would you give students who want to investigate series about convergence or divergence? So far we have collected: It is ...
6
votes
7answers
107k views

Examples of arithmetic and geometric sequences and series in daily life

In this part of the course I am just trying to show that we actually see alot of sequences and series everyday in our daily life. I already found some examples such as the housenumbers when you drive ...
22
votes
3answers
512 views

Breaking students from the habit of relying on examples

One of the most frustrating things about my experiences teaching math (at the university level, if that matters) is that students seem very reluctant to actually learn the material. Instead, they seem ...
7
votes
0answers
185 views

Examples of multiple induction

It is easy to find/construct cases that can be proven by nested induction, i.e., some variation of the theme to prove the statement $P(m, n)$ you prove $P(1, n)$ by induction as a base case for $m$, ...
17
votes
3answers
578 views

A Series of Unfortunate Examples!

All of us know, when teaching, the "right" choice of examples is important. Though, making the "right" choice is one of those things that are easier said than done. Here is the story of a series of ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Counterexamples to the Greedy Algorithm

In the graph theory section of my Discrete Math course I'll be covering Prim's Algorithm for finding the minimal spanning tree. I'd like to impress upon the students just how special it is that the ...
12
votes
3answers
511 views

Example of function with *all* the features of differential calculus at first-year level

I'm teaching a first-year calculus course, that is mid-way between a first intro to university-level calculus, and intro to real analysis (I'm based in Australia, for reference). We assume the ...
12
votes
3answers
905 views

Mathematical education slang

Amir Asghari recently asked a question about mathematical slang. He was "looking for "non-mathematical" terms or phrases that are used to refer to mathematical objects (of any kind) mainly for ...
22
votes
16answers
2k views

Examples of Mathematical Slang

Unless you have taught highschool algebra in Iran, you could not make sense of the phrase: Elephant and Teacup Identity! This is what teachers use to refer to the following identities: $ (a+b)(a^2-...
9
votes
2answers
229 views

Good examples of non-convex optimization

I am looking for a function of on an interval with several local optima that appears in some mathematical model and which you can at least imagine that you want to optimize. I am teaching a calculus ...
35
votes
23answers
6k views

Imbuing a six year old with a sense of mathematical wonder

My six year old started school a few months back and he's loving it. This first year is more about social skills than anything academic and I like that approach. But we're spending some time at home ...
9
votes
4answers
175 views

Specific examples (like elementary proofs,or simple problems) which appear rich in abstractions when observed through the lens of abstraction

I am looking for pedagogically motivated examples (like elementary proofs,or simple problems) of "abstraction in action" ? I am looking for good specific examples (pre-university level or first year ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Questions for Oral Examination in Mathematics

I am working on some research on implementation of oral assessment in mathematics classroom, and I was wondering are there any questions/problems/concepts in mathematics that can be only assessed ...
6
votes
1answer
238 views

What is a less anglo-centric collection of persons than Andy, Beth, Carl, Debby and Earl?

These five imagined persons have accompanied me for some time. We've had a bunch of laughs and a few tears. I love them dearly. That said, I'd like to retire them in favor of a more culturally diverse ...