/r/matheducation

/r/matheducation is for discussions of math teaching and pedagogy.

r/matheducation is focused on mathematics pedagogy (the teaching of). Please avoid posts that are related to homework or other "How do I solve this?" type questions. There should be an emphasis on usefulness (such as good internet resources or ideas for how to teach a concept).

Note: This is not a subreddit to self-promote your blog, website, or YouTube channel, but rather to point out resources you've found that you could actually see bringing something useful to the art of math teaching.

Just explaining a single math concept isn't a good fit here, but something that explains an innovative way to teach a concept to others is fine.

The guiding principle for content here should be: is this something related to the teaching of mathematical concepts?

Related reddits:

/r/matheducation

1

0 Comments

2024/10/11

07:31 UTC

07:31 UTC

5

Depending on the definition of "failure" I have failed every mathematical problem solving task. First at school. Then at University. Sometimes a relative failure - getting a C - and sometimes outright; once at University I got a mark of zero.

Your first thought might be "I am not good at maths". But that is not true. I've passed calculus at university. I am not great. But I am competent at the textbook problems. I am just terrible at problem solving. This is what has happened every single time:

I cannot work out where to start. This was how I got my University zero. It's all mud to me. I try sincerely to find a point to start off at. But it doesn't matter how much effort I use or how long I take. I end up trying anything that occurs to me at random to look for a way to start.

If by some miracle I find a point to start off at. Certainly not an optimal point. But a point. Then I will come sooner or later to my next cliff: there will be some point where a particular aspect of mathematics is needed but it will never occur to me. My mark will depend on how far I have got until that point.

In all this as a school student I was afraid to get help or tell my family about this. I would get this response:

"It's OK if you are thick".

The 300 tonne shame bomb of telling anyone you are not good at mathematics. For anyone who says glibly that "just don't care what other people think" well, de facto I can't help but care.

My experiences have all been in the Australian education system. When I did mathematics in my final year of school the curriculum was changed to give a lot more weight to mathematical problem solving. This basically killed the subject for me; the way it works is you do five subjects and you can "throw away" your worst one. Thus I had to "throw away" my mathematics result. [yes for any Australian people this is a ridiculously simplified description of the system. But most people here are American so I have to explain it like someone is five etc.]

Maybe some people just don't think in a way that is mathematical problem solving. Even though I can problem solve very well in other areas like computers or chess playing. I have never met anyone else who has the same problem. It always amazes me that other people do something with mathematical problem solving so much better than what I can do.

Maybe I am not a numbers person. The mathematics I did best at were very sequential problems like Power series or matrix algebra that were similar to computer programming. Give me 50 million steps to do and I will do the lot. Maybe I have the mathematical creativity and intuition of a house brick. I have never found anything creative about mathematics.

In short an assumption by the education system that everyone is a good problem solver is a dangerous assumption.

9 Comments

2024/10/10

19:52 UTC

19:52 UTC

1

Hi!

I’m working on a capstone project focused on improving math teaching techniques to enhance student learning speed and retention. I'm looking for a mentor with experience in education, especially in math, to guide me through lesson planning, data analysis, and provide general feedback.

If you're interested in helping, please drop your email or DM me, and I’ll share mine. Thanks in advance!

Binh Minh Nguyen

0 Comments

2024/10/10

06:15 UTC

06:15 UTC

30

Showed students why rationalizing the denominator and simplifying radicals used to be critical skills when all we had were tables.

7 Comments

2024/10/09

20:49 UTC

20:49 UTC

0

1 Comment

2024/10/09

18:03 UTC

18:03 UTC

12

I am having an interesting pedagogical debate with a student, as a university intructor. Without getting too technical, the assignment is to create a discrete event simulation - events occur at given times, Ti - then to analyze the outputs of that simulation. For simplicity, one of the things they must analyze is the total number of a particular type of event.

The expectation is that the student simply sums up the total number of times the event was seen. More or less: if at time Ti the event occurs, add 1 to a counter.

The student decided that this means that the "number of events seen" is a function of time, that is constant between one event time and the next. Therefore, to compute the total number of events seen, we can derive an equation using the integral of this function. Ultimately, the student is good enough at integration that their derived expression is equivalent to "add 1 to a counter".

Now, the debate.

**My interpretation** is that the integral is invalid, or at least is invalid without doing a lot more work, because the simulation simply isn't continuous time. There is T1 and T2, but no T1.5, so the integral cannot be applied.

**My student's interpretation** is that although this might be true from the simulation, we are simulating a physical process in which continuous time techniques could be applied, so the integral is valid.

I've given the student the mark - they understand this problem so well that it would be totally unfair not to - but I now need to know how to explain, essentially, that the "existence" of T1.5 depends on how we are interpreting the system we are simulating and how it is set up. Any thoughts?

11 Comments

2024/10/09

16:35 UTC

16:35 UTC

6

I'm in a small charter, that specializes in second language learners and remediation. We have a subset of students that show up once per month. I have a student that has good attendance, but the only other positive is she's not disruptive. In class she's either on her phone or doing her makeup, one teacher is concerned she's illiterate. The English teacher is getting some work out of her by sitting her up front and constantly redirecting her. I split the class between instruction and classwork (no homework). I do redirect her but only get token responses (putting makeup or phone down until I move on). Today we had midterms, I took everyone's phones so she tried some of the problems. I looked at her first answer and she wrote 2/3 x 3/2=5/5, so now I'm not even sure if she knows the math symbols. Do you ever make students special projects, as in going above and beyond to motivate them?

6 Comments

2024/10/09

15:41 UTC

15:41 UTC

14

So I started tutoring for the SAT (specifically for math) two days ago, and already from the first two lessons with linear functions some of the students didnt know what a function was and had never seen function notation before.

The youngest kid in this class is 16, so I thought I would be basically be doing math review and then teaching them how to understand the SAT and its tricky question style, apply concepts to more abstract questions, and go over lots of practice questions with them.

But the last two sessions I was actually just going over basics because when I wrote f(x), some students had zero clue what I was writing.

And then going over circles I asked for a volunteer to tell me what the diameter of a circle is, and absolutely nobody knew.

Nobody knew diameter, radius, vertex, anything to do with circles.

I tried to explain f(x) functions the same as y. I tried to explain that f is our rule/equation and x is what we input into the equation, and that whatever f(x) equals is just the output of when we input our x into the equation.

But I could tell they had never heard of y being explained as an output and x being explained as an input so I think I just confused them more.

The problem is the program I'm tutoring with does group tutoring, so I have some students that want to interrupt me and work ahead and yell out the answer while I explain some algebra basics and I have some students that actually need me to explain and breakdown exactly what a function is and what a y intercept is.

But then I also don't know how in just 4 weeks (until the SAT) I am supposed to teach half the kids the basics of math and give the other half a good preparation for the SAT where they aren't just doing problems that are easy for them.

I mean how am I supposed to fully teach 4+ years worth of math from algebra 1 to geometry to algebra 2, and also fully get into more advanced questions and tricky wording with these concepts. ALL IN FOUR WEEKS.

I want everyone in my class to be in the best position possible for the SAT but i dont know how to make this work.

12 Comments

2024/10/08

23:01 UTC

23:01 UTC

4

Hi. I am on a curriculum committee for a smallish mid-size public district (4,000 elementary students) in the upper nMidwest. We are looking at adopting a new math curriculum for K-5 in the next year.

We have been using McGraw Hill’ Everyday Mathematics for 10+ years and many teachers have “modified” the curriculum into oblivion. We really need something new to reset our instruction and get everyone on the same page.

Teachers report they like the “math boxes” (daily review) that come in student workbooks, but that the spiral nature of the curriculum is too confusing and disjointed for them and their students - especially our large population of multilingual learners.

Can you recommend some programs that aren’t so spiral-y but still have built-in review (NOT digital review, actual pencil paper work)? Who should we request samples from?

9 Comments

2024/10/08

14:25 UTC

14:25 UTC

56

Another year and another ridiculous request. I have great passing rates but admin says that I am great teacher but I need to do things newsworthy that they can share on social media to prove I'm a great teacher. I think that's a little shitty, but I want to keep my job. Every time I teach something, I try to Google some hands on learning for that topic and I really can't find anything. I have small projects like I planted a plant at the beginning of the year and we measured it and do regressions on it but so many other topics that don't work. Does any AP teacher have websites they frequent? We do make 3-D models of rotating around an axis, too.

46 Comments

2024/10/07

10:17 UTC

10:17 UTC

5

I've been introducing basic geometric concepts to my 5yo by doing hands on exercises which she calls as experiments. I introduced Pi by cutting different shapes of circles coloring them to make it as an art activity and made her lineup beads around and across the circle. She counted the beads tabulated them, and asked her to count the beads lined up around in the order of number of beads in across. She was awestruck when she got 3 for all the different circles. I did something different for squares, triangles and hexagons too. I want to know what are other things I can do like this. I want to focus on geometric shapes so that we can do a cut and color and glue exercise.

0 Comments

2024/10/07

02:31 UTC

02:31 UTC

4

I’m currently taking a pre-calculus course and my instructor uses several learning resources such as YouTube videos, PowerPoints, openstax Precalculus 2e, and myopenmath for homework.

The videos are helpful, but I am struggling so hard to apply the textbook, formulas and concepts to the myopenmath homework problems. In addition, so many of the problems on my openmath are very different from the exercise problems in openstax etextbook. I feel like the openstax precalculus 2e textbook is very vague in some chapters. I’m very anxious because I have failed two exams and my instructor told me to focus more on the textbook, but I’m just having a harder time applying the concepts to the exercise problems. Has anyone ever used myopenmath and openstax together in a math course? What are your opinions? Can you offer some advice?

4 Comments

2024/10/06

22:14 UTC

22:14 UTC

148

It's so frustrating. I've been taught everything *surrounding* math instruction, but not enough on the crucial part where you actually teach. There is an emphasis on nurturing engagement, developing interest, building mathematician traits, but what about the actual teaching math part?

Like there should be an available catalog of explanations, mnemonics, visuals, metaphors, etc, for every single concept. In addition to advice.

Once in a while I stumble upon someone teaching a concept in the most amazing and perfect way. They may have the perfect analogy, or a great rhyme. Why isn't anyone focusing on this? I think a lot of the issues we face would be cleared up if things were explained in a better way to students.

Someone should hunt in the internet for the best ways to teach every concept, collect them, and present them in a book, on a channel, or on a website. For every concept there are 100 people on YouTube trying to teach it, and chances are one of them will have the most amazing way to put it.

edit: Thank you everyone for your thoughts and input. Some people encouraged me to do it myself and I think I will give it a shot. Though if this is to be made the way I feel it should be made, then this will take some time to gather the information and test it, then time to present it well. Thank you again for the encouragement. I will now vanish for a while.

90 Comments

2024/10/06

18:26 UTC

18:26 UTC

14

Can a student learn higher level HS math with a specific moderate to severe learning disability in Math?

I shall post this in a a teacher forum as well, to get some perspective.

But let's say a student presents thusly:

Specific Learning Disorder with impairment in mathematics (moderate), (Math Problem Solving, Addition Fluency, Subtraction Fluency and Linguistic Math Concepts - very low.

This st8udent hopes to pass an academic stream, pre-calculus class (she wants to be a vet) -- Math 30-1 in Alberta, to be specific. But has no number sense, cannot approach abstract questions that do not have a step by step algorithm to follow, which is a moot point anyways, because he cannot even do a set algorithm to factor complex trinomials, even.

I cannot see a path to success for this student. They simply do not have the math sense to do more than junior high, basic skills. And they hope to understand logarithmic and exponential functions?

Perhaps with intense, one-on-one tutoring at home, maybe. But not in the context of a regular class.

Any insights?

15 Comments

2024/10/05

21:35 UTC

21:35 UTC

1 Comment

2024/10/05

10:40 UTC

10:40 UTC

13

I'm tutoring a 14-year-old UK student who doesn't seem to have any knowledge of maths whatsoever- for example he didn't know what odd and even numbers are. And when I explain what they are he doesn't remember the next week. His knowledge gap is so huge that I mostly teach him primary level maths but he still struggles. I feel like I could tutor this kid (1 hour a week) for the next 2 years and he'd still get a bad grade on his GCSE. I think I should tell his Dad that it's a waste of money paying me but I'm reluctant to just give up.

Have any of you had similar experiences tutoring students who seem completely uninterested or unable to understand math? Any advice on how to approach this situation differently? I'm open to any suggestions, no matter how unconventional.

13 Comments

2024/10/04

20:13 UTC

20:13 UTC

3

Is anyone aware of a NodeJS (or even a Python) library that can parse a CSV generated by a MyLab Advanced Data Export?

I know this is a long-shot, but this would make my work much more effective.

0 Comments

2024/10/04

14:34 UTC

14:34 UTC

65

I’m a highschool precalc student. I’m falling in love with trig identities, they’re way funner than all that annoying ahh graphing stuff smh. Trying to figure out stuff that would surprise my teacher yk. Like I partitioned CosθSecθ into a 30% portion & a 70% portion. Just to do it. Cuz I can. I know you are all mathematicians doing insane stuff but I just wanted to share my excitement with this absolute goated pre Calc topic.

21 Comments

2024/10/04

04:42 UTC

04:42 UTC

15

I am currently reading John Ruskin's *The Stones of Venice*, which is about architecture. In one section, he's trying to define Gothic architecture and partially doing it by contrast to Romanesque. He explains that Romanesque roofs characteristically have obtuse angles at the top, while Gothic roofs have acute angles. That's easy enough to measure, but it also shouldn't be too close to the middle ground or either one kind of loses its identity.

So he explains that you can draw a line connecting the bottom edges of the roof and make circle where that line is the diameter. If the roof had a right angle, then it would touch the top of the circle exactly. But that's what we are trying to avoid. For Romanesque structures, we're looking for the top to go about halfway from the diameter to the top of the circle, while for gothic, you want to go about twice as high. Of course we could come up with specific angle parameters for this, but the act of drawing the circle gives a better visual understanding of what is low or high enough, rather than some seemingly arbitrary measurements.

0 Comments

2024/10/03

15:43 UTC

15:43 UTC

16

Hi all!

I apologize if this is the wrong sub, but I figured that since you guys are professionals in math and education you might have some experience with this

I (f) have been tutoring a high school student (m) once a week in algebra. Overall I think my way of explaining things is helping the student learn, but he does seem tense/nervous during the sessions. He comes to me after a long day of school and sports practice so I can see why he might not be super motivated to keep doing work when he gets to me.

When we start our sessions, we typically dive into the content right away and then his mom comes and grabs him at the end and he leaves right away. I don’t feel that we are really connecting. I ask him if he did anything fun at school that day and he always just says “no”. He does cooperate and is improving skill wise, but he just seems miserable to be there.

I think that if we connected a little more and he felt comfortable with me we could be more productive. This brings me to my question… what are some quick activities (math or non math related) we could do at the beginning of our sessions to get him to calm down and feel comfortable?

Thanks in advance!!

11 Comments

2024/10/03

05:04 UTC

05:04 UTC

4

I want to take ap calculus senior year, but if I were to do that next semester I would have to take algebra 2 and pre-calc at the same time. Can you take pre calc without knowing algebra 2? Could I teach myself algebra 2 before next semester?

8 Comments

2024/10/02

21:07 UTC

21:07 UTC

2

Hello everyone,
I'm 15 years old and I'm very likely to go study maths and informatics in 2 years time. In the study you will need to learn coding/programming language C#

I need a new hobby, and I think it might be helpful for in the future, but I'm not sure how to start or even if its a good idea.
Please help me.

4 Comments

2024/10/02

18:41 UTC

18:41 UTC

3

Good Morning,

I'm an engineering education Ph.D. candidate, currently working on my dissertation, with a focus on better understanding the self-efficacy of pre-service teachers in teaching STEM education to K-12 students. The findings from this study will highlight the importance of supporting K-12 teachers in their preparation programs and in their efforts to become effective STEM role models. I've had a tough time with getting good response rates for my current survey, so I'm hoping all of you wonderful pre-service teachers can help :)

The link below will take you to a survey and questionnaire you can complete in 30 minutes or less. Additionally, some students may be selected for a follow-up interview, which would be scheduled at a later date and could also be completed in 30 minutes. If you choose to participate in this survey (which I sincerely hope you will), you will be entered into a random drawing, where two participants will receive a **$25.00** Amazon gift card. ALL participants will receive a **$25.00** gift card if selected to participate in an interview.

**I am interested in pre-service teachers within the United States, in their last year of their undergraduate teaching program, majoring in elementary, middle, secondary, or STEM education. Participants must be 18 years or older to participate in this survey.**

**I would sincerely appreciate anyone meeting the above-mentioned qualifications to participate in my research.**

https://msstate.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bJc8A67hLKahRNs

1 Comment

2024/10/01

10:57 UTC

10:57 UTC

6

I am looking for tried and true resources for a PBL activity for Math 1 aka Algebra 1. My school is pushing for a PBL lesson for each class, but they are unable to actually define PBL, give a good example of a math PBL lesson, or offer any guidelines. I would appreciate anything you have used and found successful, or a place to find the resources. Thanks!

3 Comments

2024/09/30

23:12 UTC

23:12 UTC

3

I'm looking for info on what peoples' experiences have been like with different credential programs in California! I'd love to hear about which school you got your credential from and what your experience was like.

--Some schools offer a combined MA + Credential 1 year program. If you did this, did it feel worth it? or did it feel like a lot of unnecessary busywork? Did the pay raise you got from receiving your Master's feel worth it?

--Is it true that no one really cares too much about where you received your credential from? Do you feel like you learned a lot from your program?

--What was your experience student teaching like? Do you feel like the teacher you worked with was supportive and you were able to learn a lot from them?

--what do you think separates a good program from a bad program? What things did you like/dislike about your program?

thank you!

8 Comments

2024/09/30

16:51 UTC

16:51 UTC

3

In learning math, "typical" examples are always worth memorizing.

For example, when learning functions, we should, at the very least, memorize the graph and properties of the zero, linear, quadratic, and cubic functions. This will help us to understand future concepts easier and better. They can also be used as templates for examples and counterexamples.

**What is a nice, witty, catchy, punchy, and snappy term for "typical" examples?**

Here are some that come to mind.

prototype/prototypical examples

(Prototype = unrefined version of something. Not sure if this is an appropriate term.)

archetype/archetypal examples

(Archetype = very typical example of something. I think this is the most logical term in the list, but it's not very catchy.)

template examples

(Too serious.)

mother examples

(Too motherly.)

quintessential examples

(Too philosophical/nose bleeding.)

Please share your ideas. :D

11 Comments

2024/09/30

09:11 UTC

09:11 UTC

0

Geometry Transformations Use the following figure to answer both parts of the questions. (I can't use pictures so here's the pre image coordinates and image coordinates for the triangle. You could use desmos or another graphing calculator if you have to see the triangles, which you probably might. Pre-image triangle coordinates- Y (-2,1) Z(-6,1) X(-4,3)

Image triangle coordinates- Y'(2,0) Z' (2,-2) X'(3,-1)

Describe in words a sequence of three or more transformations that maps XYZ to X'Y'Z (Like reflections, translations, rotations at 90,180. degrees counterclockwise or clockwise, dilations. I can tell you though I did dilate. The image/triangle is smaller now. Reflections across the y axis, over the x axis, etc stuff like that)

Then, write an ordered pair rule for each transformation in the sequence. Please answer simple, I tried to make this as simple as possible to understand without pictures.

2 Comments

2024/09/30

05:34 UTC

05:34 UTC

14

I've moved to a new school (high SES, but generally less academic) and am struggling with my grade 9 class. Most of the students are generally where I'd expect them to be, but some students well above level, but I've got 3 students that are really well below level. They struggle with their times tables, order of operations, adding/subtracting/multiplying negative numbers, concept of square roots/squaring. To make matters worse, they don't generally do much homework, and when I give them time in class to work on things, they don't get much done unless I'm side by side with them. Any suggestions outside of emailing home?

6 Comments

2024/09/30

02:50 UTC

02:50 UTC

3

Hey guys I am currently in my final year of high school I am very much passionate about combinatorics and probability and all so I found statistics the most relevant to it

I am avg in calculus not an extraordinary, but yeah my personal interest is like okayish in it and I could improve while in college

So is it the right bachelor's degree for me

9 Comments

2024/09/29

20:55 UTC

20:55 UTC

6

Has anyone used Magic SchooL AI to help plan math lessons? I am a high school math teacher for Level 1 and 2 ELLs and looking to experiment with different lessons. Any input about the AI is appreciated!

6 Comments

2024/09/29

20:16 UTC

20:16 UTC