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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4
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6answers
331 views

How to make a student not overlook easy mistakes such as the wrong sign

I am teaching entry calculus to a bunch of students outside class (more like complementary to their math classes, without making much connections) and I can teach on a much more individual level than ...
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2answers
292 views

Mainstreaming math student

I'm working one-on-one with a student who is part of a sponsored refugee family. He's bright and a good learner, but has had a lot of interruptions to his education. No indication of any learning ...
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2answers
110 views

Returning Student for STEM - Brush-Up Resources? [closed]

All, I am hoping to wade into an Electrical Engineering or Mechanical Engineering degree, but I have been out of college for almost 10 years. My last major exposure to math was good grades in ...
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2answers
850 views

Should young math students be taught an abstract concept of form?

Should a more general concept of the "form" of an equation or expression, be taught to math students as young as elementary school? I'm a fairly new tutor--do more experienced teachers think this ...
8
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5answers
739 views

Teaching students to write the “invisible” ones

some of my students refer to there being an invisible $-1$ in front of the expression $-(x + 4)$ or in the exponent of $x$. While it is not phrased mathematically, I am ok with them saying this ...
8
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3answers
595 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 ...
6
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0answers
126 views

Flow diagrams and summarizing strategies in proof-computation courses: good or bad for learning? Unsuitable for Inquiry-based learning?

For concreteness lets keep our discussion to calculus courses where there is a balance of proof and computations (computing limits but also doing epsilon-delta proofs) I can understand that in more ...
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2answers
169 views

What are some suggestions fo teaching statistics concepts to struggling college students?

I'm a private math tutor. I'm fairly new at this, and this semester is the first time I've been tutoring for a statistics class at a community college. I enjoy experimenting and learning about ways to ...
3
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1answer
144 views

Existing Tools for Math Expression Equivalence Logic

Note - this question was posted here and garnered some decent replies before it was closed as off-topic in Stack Overflow. Online systems, such as ALEKS, Cengage's WebAssign, and even Khan Academy ...
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1answer
109 views

Verifying Simple Expression Equivalence in a Spreadsheet

For simple expressions with easily derived canonical forms (eg polynomials and simple rational expressions), is there a way to leverage existing tools to verify that two expressions are equal when ...
4
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1answer
169 views

Is it feasible to expose undergraduates to a “map”-centric point of view early on?

Question: Would it be feasible to teach undergraduate math students a "map"-centric view early on? If so, how early on? Now that I'm preparing for a phd program, I'm also reflecting on my ...
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12answers
2k views

What could be good non-mathematical analogies to explain the difference between the words theorem, proposition, lemma and corollaries?

What could be good non-mathematical analogy/analogies to explain the difference among the words - theorem, proposition, lemma and corollaries to high school students? I am looking for analogies that ...
36
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12answers
6k views

Is it advisable to avoid teaching “multiplication as repeated addition”?

I've had this discussion with a couple of friends. I argued that teaching multiplication as repeated addition isn't a good idea because it doesn't help children differentiate between the two ...
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1answer
1k views

How does Project Euler come up with such good problems so rapidly?

Ever since I learned about Project Euler, I have been astonished and wondering about how Colin Hughes (the creator of Project Euler) manages to come up with such problems at such a rapid pace (once a ...
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3answers
234 views

Quizzes (with questions known in advance) instead of homework in a graduate mathematics class. Good Idea or Bad Idea? Pros and Cons?

I'm teaching a graduate course in mathematics next semester. I'm planning to have a midterm and a final exam. But I'm thinking about having weekly (or once-every-two-weeks) in-class quizzes instead of ...
19
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3answers
676 views

Constructive refutation of student misconception

Although @Gareth Shepherd recently posted Addressing fundamental math errors close to the issue, I experienced my problem of misunderstanding in class, where two good K10 students were asked to ...
6
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0answers
234 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): 1) mathematical education and student motivation ...
4
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2answers
224 views

Why bother completing the square to find the minimum/maximum of a quadratic function?

Given a question like Find the coordinates of the minimum point on the curve $y=3x^2+2x+9$. students are often taught to solve this by completing the square. The class I am currently teaching ...
56
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13answers
8k views

How to get past the “mystique” of Maths

This question is primarily discussing maths education for adult learners, on courses teaching engineering mathematics at an undergraduate level. These students generally never set out specifically to ...
9
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1answer
320 views

How to deal with poor students who don't take notes?

I want to set the context for me asking this question before stating it properly. I teach at college/university level. This question deals with first-year students, fresh from school. So think ...
4
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2answers
119 views

Exposure to Algebra 2/Calculus Under Time Constraints

As part of a free summer enrichment program for highly-motivated high school students, I need to plan eight hour-long lessons for mini-courses titled as "Algebra 2" and "Calculus" separately. Despite ...
3
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2answers
146 views

Ideas for high-school proof class?

I have a math degree and have been hired to teach a proof class at a summer program. Our goal is to help the students learn the material they need for school (they take an algebra class separately) ...
5
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2answers
193 views

How to explain NP-hardness and NP-completeness to students

Computer science is becoming more and more important for mathematicians nowadays. Terms like big data, algorithm, artificial intelligence and others are frequently on the news. Many mathematical ...
15
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3answers
420 views

What to do if all students lack prerequisites?

I am teaching a calculus class for business this summer (6 students) and all of them do not have the math background needed for the class. We are supposed to cover derivatives and integrals, but they ...
15
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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. ...
13
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2answers
399 views

Is higher-math pedagogy responding properly to Wolfram Alpha's existence?

Is the current state of math teaching in undergrad college courses struggling with the availability of easy cheap access to Wolfram Alpha? The homework problem below, one of 40 assigned from one ...
6
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2answers
234 views

Effective Assessment that's Easy to Grade

A colleague of mine will be teaching 3 classes (pre-calculus and two sections of calculus, at the university level) next semester with an additional grader in only one of those classes (pre-calculus). ...
4
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2answers
135 views

How are geometric proofs related to geometric pictures?

When teaching geometry it is common to use pictures/figures to "show" the problem and its solution. It's also common to say things like "more than one figure can be shown which demonstrates the same ...
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, "...
13
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5answers
434 views

Hands on activities for a college history of mathematics course

I will be teaching a course in history of mathematics to juniors/seniors who are math and math education majors, many future school teachers. It should include highlights from antiquity to early 19-th ...
32
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13answers
4k views

Lecturers “(intentional) mistakes” as a teaching tool

I have heard the story (may be an urban legend?) of a top professor who occasionally wanted to teach freshman analysis. He believed in the method of letting students see how a mathematician's mind ...
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3answers
183 views

when should we teach basic complex algebra?

I am teaching Differential Equations this semester. The pre-req is Calculus II, not even Multivariable Calculus. I made my peace with that, can't fight with the big-shots of the department. So, I have ...
13
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3answers
268 views

Using Several Textbooks in a Course

Sometimes a teacher prefers to use several textbooks in his/her courses because he/she thinks the arguments of each book is better in a part of course material or there is no comprehensive textbook in ...
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12answers
1k views

Mathematical problems for preschoolers

What are some mathematical problems that are feasible for preschool children to stimulate their intellectual development? There are multiple natural laws that are not apparent to them, for example: ...
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5answers
1k views

Questions with “round” answers only?

Textbook writers are blessed with only solving problems with neat answers. Numerical coefficients are small integers, many terms cancel, polynomials split into simple factors, angles have ...
3
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2answers
234 views

What is the true generalization of a notion?

In mathematics we usually can generalize a particular notion in many different ways. Some of these generalizations could be contradictory. When I teach maths/logic to my students I usually encourage ...
4
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3answers
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 ...
11
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4answers
339 views

How would you introduce Frullani integral to students?

Some integration techniques are just "tricks", while some integrals are analytically significant in that they connect different fields of math or they embody higher level concepts. In the ...
70
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15answers
19k 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 (...
22
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7answers
4k views

Why are we so careful in saying that dy/dx is not a fraction?

Calculus instructors are mostly very careful to explain that $\frac{\mathrm{d}y}{\mathrm{d}x}$ is not a fraction, and multiplying both sides of an equation by $\mathrm{d}x$ is nonsense, wrong, or evil....
13
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3answers
343 views

Does education research support the idea that answer keys are bad?

I am a physics grad student and several of my professors have stated that they are against the idea of posting answer keys (i.e., worked solutions) for homework and/or tests (after the assignment has ...
14
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3answers
425 views

Why teach back substitution with row reduction?

Many linear algebra books include two versions of row reduction for solving systems of linear equations: (1) Reduce to echelon form, and then use back substitution. (2) Reduce to reduced echelon ...
13
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4answers
299 views

Pedagogical advice/articles for graduate student teaching assistants

Are there any good pedagogical resources or articles that you would recommend to math graduate student teaching assistants (TAs)? Is there any sweeping advice that you would give a TA to improve their ...
12
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1answer
255 views

How to write proofs on the board in the classroom

I'm teaching an introductory analysis course, and I am seeking some feedback on how proofs should be written on the board in class in order to maximize learning. I realize that there is an opinion-...
12
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4answers
321 views

request for evidence about class perspectives in math word problems

A recent publication: Anita Bright. Education for Whom? Word Problems as Carriers of Cultural Values. Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education. (Spring 2016). pp. 6-22. Link No paywall. observes ...
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10answers
8k views

How should a student's inefficient calculation be pointed out?

One time I watched a student solve the equation $0 = (x-2)^2-9$ for $x$ like this. $$\begin{align*} 0 &= (x-2)^2-9 \\0 &= (x^2-4x+4)-9 \\0 &= x^2-4x-5 \\0 &= (x+1)(x-...
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3answers
461 views

How to teach a student algebra who misses too much previous knowledge?

I am now tutoring a student in Grade 9, who falls behind in math study. He lacks the basic understanding of operations and inverse operations, and have trouble dealing with negative numbers and ...
10
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2answers
151 views

Cognitive demands of a mathematical task

I'm looking for a theoretical framework to classify a task based on its cognitive demand. I only have the Smith and Stein's (1998) proposal and PISA framework such as my principal references. In ...
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11answers
2k views

Books that every aspirant mathematician should read

I am a student and I would love to become a research mathematician one day. So I would like to ask you---experts in mathematics but also in education---what are some influential ($\star$) books that ...
22
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13answers
3k views

What books are like Knuth's Surreal Numbers?

I'm looking to find more examples of books which bridge the gap between "story" and "mathematics" using narrative and all those other wonderful features we might find in Harry Potter or some other ...

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