Questions tagged [examples]

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

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17
votes
5answers
9k views

Good examples of proof by contradiction?

In later courses on automata theory, many students just seem incapable of getting a proof that a language isn't regular right, be it using the pumping lemma (see also the many questions on the matter ...
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6answers
1k views

Motivating example for sequences, sums and limits in high school

I currently work as a substitute teacher at a local high school and the topic in one of the classes is sequences, series and limits. Because I always disliked learning about a topic without having ...
4
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3answers
201 views

Probability — analytical results instead of simulations

After students learn how to use probabilistic simulations, what strategies can one use to encourage them to understand analytical results anyway? For example, I'm struggling to find a compelling ...
15
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7answers
2k views

An introductory example for Taylor series (12th grade)

I (a student) am doing a presentation on Taylor series in my class (12th grade, in Germany if this is relevant). I am looking for a good example where you can see when Taylor series might be useful. ...
2
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1answer
79 views

Looking for good examples/explanations of maximum likelihood estimators for discrete random variables

The title basically says it all. I need to prepare material for a whole classroom of elementary statistics students, so if anyone wants to help me out in the name of math education, that'd be great!
35
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11answers
2k views

Big list of "interesting" abstract vector spaces

When introducing an abstraction it is important (in my opinion) to have a wide variety of examples of this abstraction. Since finite dimensional real vector spaces are classified up to isomorphism by ...
7
votes
5answers
624 views

Example of why proof by exhaustion is inelegant

There's a nice example of why people dislike proof by exhaustion on the Wikipedia page. The problem statement is "prove that all years in which the Modern Olympics are held are divisible by 4&...
8
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4answers
2k 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 ...
25
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13answers
3k views

What is a good motivation/showcase for a student for the study of eigenvalues?

Courses about linear algebra make great demands on looking for eigenvalues and transforming matrices to diagonal matrices (or, at least, to Jordan normal form). This is somehow a technical, recipe-...
4
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4answers
238 views

Showing applications of calculus to intro students

So I'm wrapping up my second year teaching high school calculus, and my first as an AP course. In addition to review, I'd like to end the year by giving the students a taste of the kinds of real-...
24
votes
5answers
993 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 ...
17
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8answers
9k 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
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2answers
185 views

Pros/Cons of using a single story in multiple examples to demonstrate different points

Judea Pearl, in his book "Probabilistic reasoning in intelligent systems" uses a handful of stories over and over again, each time to demonstrate a different point. (His "Alarm" ...
16
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8answers
1k 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 ...
41
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25answers
10k views

Good, simple examples of induction?

Many examples of induction are silly, in that there are more natural methods available. Could you please post examples of induction, where it is required, and which are simple enough as examples in a ...
14
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3answers
4k views

What is a good physical example of Stokes' Theorem?

I find it useful to give physical examples of theorems, especially in vector calculus - for example $\nabla f$ being the direction of maximum ascent on a surface $f$. What is a good example for ...
4
votes
1answer
205 views

Relationships amusingly difficult to graph

Long ago, when I was the student, I encountered a bunch of stories that we were asked to illustrate with graphs. I seem to remember that it was a set of around 10 examples. One involved some two ...
1
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0answers
200 views

Do you avoid examples or test questions that showcase an algorithmic plug'n'chug approach?

If we accept that there's not much learning from doing the "same" questions, like find the derivative of $x^2$, and $x^3$, and $x^4$ due to the algorithmic way of how it's done, then what ...
11
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4answers
8k views

What are easy examples from daily life of constrained optimization?

A standard example of motivating constrained optimization are examples where the setup is described in a lot of lines, e.g., when you own a company and the company is making some products out of ...
5
votes
2answers
270 views

What are some famous problems, which are not difficult to understand, for senior high school students

I hope I am asking my question in the right forum. I am trying to introduce some mathematical problems (Better to be famous in the math community) to a group of senior high school students with a ...
16
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4answers
608 views

What are some good ways to motivate and introduce reasoning abstractly about abstract algebra?

I've found one of the hardest topics to introduce to students early on is abstract algebra. Even if they've already written proofs, it's hard for them to work directly from axioms. They seem to have ...
12
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3answers
1k 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 ...
16
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6answers
2k views

Are there direct practical applications of differentiating natural logarithms?

The textbook I am using to teach Calculus I includes in the exercises of most chapters a number of interesting real-world applications of the concepts from that chapter. However, the chapter on the ...
33
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7answers
9k views

How can teachers warn students about common mistakes without causing the student to make the mistake?

For example, if you're teaching integration of $\int \frac{dx}{1+x^2}$, would you mention the common wrong answer of $\ln\left(1+x^2\right)+C$? -- For myself, I very rarely mention common mistakes ...
13
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7answers
907 views

Where do you find math tasks?

What the title says. I got my degree in math last year and now I'm working on a master's independent study project through my education department finding math tasks for K-12 curriculum aligned with ...
12
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1answer
771 views

Proof by contradiction - more than one case

I am looking for some examples of when proof by contradiction is used in a problem with more than one case. In all the elementary examples, there are only two options (eg rational/irrational, ...
96
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35answers
19k views

What female mathematician can I introduce to my High School students?

I enjoy talking about Pythagoras when I teach the Pythagorean theorem. I sometimes mention Descartes when introducing Cartesian coordinates. And Leibniz and Newton are mentioned in many calculus ...
0
votes
2answers
216 views

Examples for "good" exponential growth versus linear growth

I am writing up a small text about (increasing) exponential functions versus linear functions. I want to make the point that it is not true that if an exponential is bigger than a linear function that ...
11
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8answers
3k 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
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1answer
104 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
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2answers
189 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
252 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: ...
3
votes
0answers
113 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
10k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
90 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
111 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
526 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 ...
23
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6answers
747 views

How can you explain to students that they should not use the same variable in an integrand and in the limits of integration simultaneously?

When teaching Calculus, one thing that many teachers emphasize is that the variable of integration is a `dummy variable' that is unimportant. Around the same time, we introduce integrals with ...
8
votes
2answers
399 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 ...
28
votes
8answers
2k views

Good motivation for the introduction of Lebesgue integral?

When students take a course on real analysis, they have likely learned about Riemann integrals. What is a good motivation why they have to learn a new way to integrate? A student don't want to hear ...
4
votes
3answers
330 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
445 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 ...
23
votes
13answers
18k views

Ideas for high school pure maths projects

I am thinking of giving my high school students some pure maths projects to do. It is a lot easier to think of some interesting stats projects but not in pure maths. The students' maths background are ...
28
votes
17answers
7k views

Examples of Innumeracy

I read Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos and would like to share more up-to-date and relevant examples of innumeracy to motivate my grade 8, 9 & 10 students. Are there any websites, blogs, books, ...
7
votes
7answers
9k views

What real-example of modulo-arithmetic would work for American students?

The typical explanation for modular arithmetic is calling it by another name, "clock-arithmetic", and comparing it to the way the hour value of clocks "resets" every time it has passed midnight. This ...
1
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2answers
340 views

Designing a Good Question on Kinematics: Test and Develop

So I was asked in an interview to design two questions for UK Physics A Level students studying the suvat equations, that is, equations of motion with a constant acceleration. The first needs to '...
6
votes
2answers
146 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
972 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
89 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
179 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 ...