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38 votes

Common Core, threat or menace? Or maybe ok after all?

I'm really wondering if this is the end of the world or the beginning of an improvement in the way we teach math. I'll answer this first, and then talk a little bit about the rest of the question. ...
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  • 7,385
28 votes

(How) Do American undergraduate math programs teach complex numbers?

The following is anecdotal, but based on experience as a student and instructor in American high schools in three states, as well as my undergraduate and graduate experiences. High School: In the ...
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23 votes
Accepted

Should an undergraduate math program contain a course on Lebesgue integration?

I think the existing answers understate how much a standard American math major does not see the Lebesgue integral. I'm going to poke around at a variety of college websites to see how they cover this ...
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18 votes
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Math activities for fast-finishers

Stuff for fast finishers/gifted kids should be out of the stream --stuff that isn't what you're covering next week or next year. Look at puzzles -- especially geometrical ones. Graph theory -- ...
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17 votes
Accepted

How to be a good math teacher at a liberal art college?

Let me reply as someone who left a university in favor of a Liberal Arts College (LAC). Although @AlexanderWoo's point is valid, my experience supports the following: At a LAC, the walls between the ...
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17 votes
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Preparing elementary teachers for the praxis exam

This is not an answer, but I think it's too important to leave as a comment. I strongly urge you to rethink your goals for this course. Your goals should be to prepare your students to teach ...
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16 votes

What is the required mathematical background of a US elementary school math teacher?

Based on my experience in the US, most school districts teachers teach all subjects including mathematics in the elementary schools. There typically aren't "mathematics teachers" at this level ...
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14 votes
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What is the required mathematical background of a US elementary school math teacher?

Supporting the answer by Brian Borchers, and also the comment by aparante001: K-6 elementary teachers in the U.S. will know effectively zero math, or even a negative amount of math in many cases. It's ...
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14 votes

Should an undergraduate math program contain a course on Lebesgue integration?

Is it standard for a math undergraduate program to have a course on Lebesgue integration? No (assuming that "have a course" means "require people to take such a course in order to get ...
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  • 141
13 votes
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Why are math test scores dropping in America? Lack of student responsibility movement

Some of us would point to political pressures to evidence higher "success" in terms of increased graduation rates, which wind up pressuring institutions to reduce standards and pass students ...
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12 votes

What is the required mathematical background of a US elementary school math teacher?

Despite what the negative answers, there are elementary teachers who are good at math. I count myself among them. The problem is that there are a broad range of abilities and attitudes among those ...
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  • 6,795
12 votes

Devising backup plan to become HS teacher as a late undergrad

Undergraduate students should be aware of their academic advising offices. Essentially every school employs full-time academic advisers to answer questions precisely like this one. If you go to a ...
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  • 19.1k
11 votes
Accepted

An alternative to "two column" geometry proofs

This is an example of what is usually called a flowchart proof (or sometimes a flow proof for short). A quick Google search for "flowchart proof" or "flow proof" shows many, many contemporary ...
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  • 16.3k
11 votes

(How) Do American undergraduate math programs teach complex numbers?

At my institution we do not discuss complex numbers at all in calculus, but we assume that students are somehow familiar with them in differential equations and linear algebra (to analyze real-linear ...
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11 votes

Math activities for fast-finishers

One option is to assign tasks with a low floor, but high ceiling. That means that almost everyone has the background to start tinkering, and accomplish something, but there is enough complexity and ...
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10 votes

As a Secondary public Math educator in the USA are there vacation days?

In the United States, you get a few personal days to use as you choose, some sick days, and some "professional days" to improve your teaching skills. Other than that, you basically get your holidays ...
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  • 2,496
10 votes

Common Core, threat or menace? Or maybe ok after all?

Edit (7/17/14): You can find a very informative flow chart about CCSSM here to show dependencies among standards. At the time of posting, the page covers the standards included for K-8. If by "...
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10 votes

What will my academic path look like after testing out of high school math classes?

So you dual enroll at the community college while you're in high school, and you finish up in two more years. While you're at it, consider some computer science courses. Also, physics is a lovely ...
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  • 17.3k
9 votes
Accepted

As a Secondary public Math educator in the USA are there vacation days?

Schools in the US typically have summer breaks of about two months, a winter break of about two weeks, a spring break of one week, and often at least a few days for fall break. The dates for those ...
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  • 476
9 votes

Is Trigonometry done differently in the US?

As you've tagged this as precalculus, I'll say that there is no standard precalculus curriculum in the United States and very little "official" guidance about what such a curriculum should ...
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  • 5,539
8 votes

When (and why) did geometric means of more than two numbers exit the secondary curriculum?

Your last para was very reasonable. (I was going to give a mean sarcastic answer, but can't now.) We can crowdsource this: Frank Ayres, First Year College Math (algebra 1 to precalc; Schaum's ...
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  • 159
8 votes

What is the required mathematical background of a US elementary school math teacher?

Here are the requirements for Teacher Certification in Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Teaching and Certification Resource Become a Teacher in Massachusetts An image pasted from the latter link: ...
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8 votes

Teaching calculus in AP without the formal definition of the derivative

As a new AP Calculus teacher who just went through the certification process with College Board, I can expand on the answer that Ben Crowell (i.e. user507) gave. Not only is it pretty irresponsible ...
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  • 5,539
8 votes

Is there a study that compares 8-week vs 16-week math classes?

In all scenarios, unless the school judges the success of the course by some external metric it is very difficult to objectively compare different methods of instruction. The plain fact is that ...
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8 votes

Should an undergraduate math program contain a course on Lebesgue integration?

Is it standard for a math undergraduate program to have a course on Lebesgue integration? Yes, and I find it bizarre that a university would not have one. Lebesgue integration (or measure theory more ...
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  • 189
7 votes

How can I improve my Retake Policy?

As a college math professor, I have a retake policy. I've been trying to encourage other professors to develop retake policies, and it seems to be becoming more common with resources emerging like The ...
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  • 1,939
6 votes

Common Core, threat or menace? Or maybe ok after all?

Working in a district that has been "ahead of the curve" in preparing teachers about the CC, I feel confident in what the Core has to offer. On the other hand, the parents are still unsure about it. ...
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