Questions tagged [mathematical-pedagogy]

for questions on general considerations and problems of teaching mathematics, i.e., issues specific to teaching mathematics yet relevant to various contexts and courses.

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87
votes
18answers
16k views

Unique candidate that fails

In the comments to David Speyer's answer here, he points out that "the distinction between 'if there is a formula, it is this one' and 'this formula works' is subtle." Does anyone have any simple, ...
3
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0answers
32 views

Successor to School Mathematics Study Group (SMSG)

From reviews on Amazon of the various high school math texts by Mary Dolciani et al of the SMSG, I assume that there might be a successor to the approach (referred to as “the new math”) taken by the ...
24
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1answer
636 views

Is there a Piagetian age at which proofs can be comprehended?

I am wondering if there is literature on the developmental age (pre-adolescent?, adolescent?) at which the notion of a "proof" can be understood? I am less interested in mathematical proofs and more ...
11
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3answers
274 views

How to teach the Pythagorean theorem in a satisfying way to high school students?

I've been pretty dissatisfied with the way the Pythagorean theorem is usually taught, mainly for two reasons: The chosen proof feels like magic and I don't feel like I have a better understanding of ...
2
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1answer
248 views

Are there any university programs that “supersize” calculus courses?

Most differential calculus courses begin with the theory (and analysis) of differentiation, followed by computations, and likewise integral calculus courses. That's a lot for a three credit course, ...
2
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2answers
327 views

How actually are prime numbers taught in elementary school in United States and how easily do students learn what they're being taught about them?

I read the question https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/1593091/how-to-explain-why-study-prime-numbers-to-5th-graders and according to the body of the question, some students sigh. Also according ...
13
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3answers
2k views

Finding the Balance in a Math Question (Teaching)

As we try to work and teach in the midst of this pandemic, some problems arise when making online math exams. My question is simple: What could be an interesting basic differentiation question such ...
18
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5answers
8k views

Learning Mathematics with the aid of spaced repetition systems

I am currently self-studying, so I learn using a textbook which I work through in a linear fashion. As I am introduced to new concepts I ask myself questions and I attempt to answer these questions ...
36
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25answers
8k 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 ...
2
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2answers
198 views

How do we explain to a little child that a date in 2020 and a date in 2021 are not necessarily a year apart?

I talked with my friend on December 29 2020. Then I talked with him again on January 03, 2021. Q: What was the year when you last talked with your friend? A: 2021. Q: And what was the year the ...
6
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0answers
302 views

Links between mathematical folklore and educational success

I would like to ask if, in the research field of mathematical education, some work has been done to investigate the relationship between 1) and 2): mathematical education and student motivation the ...
45
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24answers
17k views

How to explain Monty Hall problem when they just don't get it

Talking to some friends, I was asked to explain the answer to the Monty Hall problem (see also here;) .... they were having some trouble because whoever explained it to them didn't do a very good job. ...
5
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0answers
178 views

Is there a name for 'simple' two-input-one-output word problems?

Andy has 4 apples, and then eats 2. How many does he have left? Beth drives for 3 hours at 80 km/h. How far did she go? Carl, Debbie and Earl earned $30 together shoveling driveways. How much does ...
7
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4answers
817 views

Complex analysis (Applied versus pure)

I am studying Electrical Engineering and I want to specialize in signal processing. However, I have to study complex analysis first (I am an undergraduate, so I lack some terminology). In your opinion:...
10
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4answers
429 views

How do you teach students about the concept of a proof?

I get this question a lot from new students who are taking their first proof-based math class. They are struggling because they don't have that fluency with proofs, to begin with. They don't know ...
5
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1answer
253 views

Do my students know elementary algebra; do they just use online calculators or external help; and is this ok?

Background I know the question in the title is very broad so I will try to explain it as succinctly as I can. Half my time is spent on as a researcher on didactics, while the other half is devoted to ...
7
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7answers
1k views

Advice on teaching abstract algebra and logic to high-school students

NOTE: This question will soon be duplicated, as I didn't make clear that I was a high school sophmore in the beginning. At first I thought it didn't matter, and somewhat arrogant to mention, but in ...
68
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11answers
8k views

Whence the “everything is linear” phenomenon, and what can we do about it?

$$ \color{red}{(a+b)^2 = a^2+b^2}$$ $$ \color{red}{\sqrt{x^4+y^4} = x^2+y^2} $$ $$ \color{red}{e^{t^2+C} = e^{t^2}+e^C}$$ I've observed this phenomenon -- wherein, implicitly, students say, "...
8
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2answers
488 views

Logic and proofs in secondary school

Inspired by the question When do college students learn rigorous proofs?, I became curious when pupils in secondary schools learn about proofs, what kinds of proofs they are, how rigorously they are ...
4
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4answers
1k views

How are the basic trigonometric functions introduced to students?

The fundamental trigonometric functions $\sin(x)$ and $\cos(x)$ are used throughout the sciences, but I believe students are often introduced to a very limited initial understanding where it is ...
9
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3answers
749 views

What is the pedagogical justification and history for using mnemonics to teach order of operations?

There was previously a question/rant here on MESE about why so many are still using the PEMDAS/BODMAS/BIDMAS/BEDMAS mnemonics to teach order of operations. The question was deleted (still viewable by ...
1
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1answer
72 views

Resources for Unit Rates

I am currently mentoring my little brother in mathematics. There is an issue with the pedagogy of unit rates. For example when given the following concept " 11.00 U.S. Dollars to 20 Planet X ...
5
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4answers
417 views

Teaching number theory: geometric approach

Are there any books that are substantially based on a geometric approach to explain topics in number theory (elementary and more advanced)? If so, is such approach -- judging from your teaching (or ...
1
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0answers
183 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 ...
2
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2answers
541 views

Teaching Mathematics to a Younger Sibling

I always wanted to teach my siblings mathematics, and one, ten years of age, is particularly eager. For the purposes of specializing recommendations, I will add he can use arithmetic up to ...
0
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0answers
92 views

Prerequisites to study Laplace Transform completely?

Hello to all the professors who read this. I'm an electrical engineering undergrad student. I wanted to ask for advice on what I should learn beforehand to fully grasp the Laplace transform. I also ...
-2
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1answer
59 views

Relational understanding for a specific topic

I want to aproach the undertanding of the trigonometric function based on the concept of relacional undertanding, but I have problems to came up with and problemic situation for it. I mean I don´t ...
1
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2answers
220 views

How can I teach $\frac{300}{200}$ to 10 years old students while s\he knows canceling the zeroes rule?

I am teaching math to a 10 year old student. He learned that $$\frac{300}{100}=\require{cancel}\frac{3\cancel{00}}{1\cancel{00}}=3$$ and $$\frac{6000}{300}=\require{cancel}\frac{60\cancel{00}}{3\...
13
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3answers
7k 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 ...
2
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0answers
72 views

Math websites/apps for high school students

I am undergraduate math student who is interested in being a high school math teacher. I have been given an assignment to present to my class (for a total of about 20 minutes) a teaching tool or a ...
27
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6answers
805 views

How can we help students who are very anxious about math?

In many parts of the world, the majority of the population is uncomfortable with math. In a few countries this is not the case. We would do well to change our education systems to promote a healthier ...
43
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8answers
2k views

Knowing mathematics does not translate to knowing to teach mathematics. Why?

Many brilliant mathematicians seem to make average or even poor classroom teachers. Is this an accurate assessment? Has there been any research to explain the phenomena? What is the difference ...
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 ...
13
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5answers
773 views

Descriptive Thinking vs. Formal Writing

Sometimes I come across some exam answers which describe a proof sketch or a counterexample very well but are not written formally. Such proofs show that a particular student understands the general ...
7
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1answer
246 views

Answering the Diversity Question for Mathematics Instructor Applications

As I apply for several other colleges who are hiring part time math teachers, I find myself wondering about this question as it is asked on ALL college instruction applications. Some of the questions ...
23
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5answers
1k views

Inability to work with an arbitrary mathematical object

This question is motivated by student responses to homework and quiz problems I have recently posed in an undergraduate real analysis course. I will share some examples and observations first, to ...
7
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1answer
223 views

Native language, writing, and mathematical problem solving

This question is meant to explore the intuition that mathematical thought does not most naturally proceed from writing in one's native language. The hackneyed and not entirely satisfying slogan that ...
32
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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 ...
22
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4answers
2k views

Lesson plan to self-teach real analysis to student with comp-sci background

For my background, I'm a software engineer currently studying for his master's degree in information security. But when that's all done, I plan on going back to mathematics to keep me busy. But with ...
8
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3answers
310 views

Transitioning proof based math courses online

I'd love to learn from anyone's recent experiences teaching online proof based math courses, especially those that have a large group of students who will be working asynchronously. My usual proof ...
9
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1answer
264 views

If a computer could be programmed to do a math test, then should those tests be changed?

Not only do calculators have solving capabilities, but some computer programs or websites also provide step-by-step solutions to questions (here is WolframAlpha's). Although I understand a logical ...
9
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2answers
501 views

Fear of notation and hazily-appeared writing in Mathematics

I am looking for literature related to fear of notation in mathematics. It is even heard that the font size and font type make a reader reluctant to study mathematical literature, often lecture notes,...
1
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0answers
75 views

Teaching aid for online mathematics course

Crossposting from the math.stackexchange (Question) Online classes will start again as the semester will start, I bought an XP-Pen deco 03 to help me with online teaching. I will be teaching ...
5
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2answers
254 views

Appealing thinking games, that are easy to make; easy to learn, and easy to play

$\color{Green}{\text{My Question in short}}$: Unprovable claim: Someone who is familiar with 100 thinking-games, and plays 30 of them reasonably well, is more prepared to go to math than the average ...
8
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2answers
223 views

Math Education for Students who use Right-to-Left Written Languages

Does anyone know of any studies or have personal experience dealing with difficulties (if any) faced by students studying mathematics if they come from countries which use languages written from right-...
5
votes
2answers
218 views

What is “mastery” in a mathematical topic?

This question was prompted by looking at Khan Academy's website to see how a comprehensive lecture series could be done and often I see the word, "mastery". To me, I'd think mastery is ...
18
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6answers
5k views

How rigorous should high school calculus be?

In the UK, calculus taught in secondary school focuses mainly on computation of derivatives and integrals and solving simple differential equations. There is a small amount of discussion about limits ...
6
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5answers
290 views

Concrete way to teach addition and subtraction of fractions

I am teaching 4th-grade kids. The topic is Fraction. Basic understanding of a fraction as a part of the whole and as part of the collection is clear to the kids. Several concrete ways exist to teach ...
6
votes
3answers
510 views

Looking for a HIERARCHY of math subjects

If you were to "map" mathematics onto a tree structure where the top is "Mathematics", and then below it the different branches, then sub-branches, etc. What do you suggest is a good structure, for ...
8
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1answer
180 views

How can I deal with the time pressure of teaching a short course?

I am an undergraduate applied math student. In about a month, I will be teaching two nine-hour math courses (one precalculus, one calculus) to a small group of motivated high school students. My broad ...

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