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Questions tagged [intuition]

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15 votes
4 answers
1k views

When should I say "nothing is as it seems"?

"Intuition" is the best friend and worse enemy of mathematicians! Sometimes using intuitive arguments could be very helpful to understand the nature of a phenomenon. Many of the deepest true ...
user avatar
33 votes
12 answers
5k views

For calculus students, what should be the intuition or motivation behind series?

I've noticed that series are one of the most difficult portions of calculus for new students to learn. I think the level of abstraction has to do with this. Limits, derivatives, and integrals, as ...
Brian Rushton's user avatar
29 votes
5 answers
1k views

Wonder as motivation

Like all mathematicians, I have a deep appreciation of the beauty of mathematics. Many theorems I find amazing even after I fully understand their proofs. (Example: Euler's formula, $V-E+F=2-2g$. That ...
Joseph O'Rourke's user avatar
20 votes
7 answers
2k views

How can I motivate the formal definition of continuity?

In order to teach continuity of real valued functions $f:D\to\mathbb R$ one may start with the (in some sense wrong) intuition $f$ is continuous when its graph can be drawn without lifting the pen. ...
Stephan Kulla's user avatar
26 votes
6 answers
1k views

How to present $\Bbb Z/n\Bbb Z$ to highschool level audience

I have the oportunity to talk to a highschool class about mathematics, the topic I got to present are the integers modulo $n$, ie, $\Bbb Z/n\Bbb Z$ , however I don't want to be very heavy and formal, ...
Ana Galois's user avatar
18 votes
7 answers
6k views

Lack of intuition, retention while self studying

I am a first year undergraduate student, currently in second semester. So basically I learnt most of the first year stuff in high school, so I have a lot of free time in this year (currently in ...
katana_0's user avatar
  • 349
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Determining the first digit of the Quotient using hand long division efficiently?

For instance in the following problem: _____ 48)4368 To determine an initial 9 for the first number in the Quotient, you ...
leeand00's user avatar
  • 173
5 votes
2 answers
443 views

Overcoming Dyslexia and Building Intuition

I am 25 and have been studying mathematics on my own for several years, but I am still between the middle and high school levels. My main weakness is my dyslexia. I sometimes forget words or confuse ...
antho's user avatar
  • 151
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why is continuity only defined on its domain?

As mentioned in this question students sometimes struggle with the fact that continuity is only defined at points of the function's domain. For example the function $f:\mathbb R\setminus\{0\} \to \...
Stephan Kulla's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is continuity defined as a local property?

The formal definition of continuity is a local property (the definition of continuity at a point is a property of the germ of the function at this point). Why is it a good decision to make the ...
Stephan Kulla's user avatar