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Monthly Archives: October 2010
We Take a Field Trip
Last week I took my class on a field trip. I had everyone in class think of the last digit of their phone number. I told half of them to put a minus sign in front of that number. Then … Continue reading
Posted in Pedagogy
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When Not to Use an Equal Sign
I keep thinking about equal signs – when to use them and what do they mean. Here is an example of when not to use an equal sign. p = plane I require that students define their variables when they … Continue reading
Posted in Curriculum
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“FOIL” Multiplication Is Overrated
Today my class decided that the “foil” method of multiplying two binomials is overrated. The following diagram contains the series of steps that I took them through. In step one I asked them to multiple 78 by 26 by hand … Continue reading
Posted in Curriculum, Pedagogy
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A Short Grammar Lesson
Once a week I require my students to write up several problems using correct grammar. Yesterday I wrote this on the overhead. 1 is the loneliest number. I asked the class what was wrong with this sentence. No response. Many … Continue reading
Posted in Curriculum
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An Experiment with WolframAlpha
I have been thinking about equal signs lately (The subject of a forthcoming blog entry) and decided to see what WolframAlpha thought. Here is my first try. If you give WolframAlpha an equation like without instructions, it responds with the … Continue reading
Posted in Math and Me, Rants
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My Fraction Rant
It is a common complaint among math instructors that entering freshman do not know how to add, subtract, multiply or divide fractions. Judging by the look on their faces I would say that they actually fear them. The reasons, I … Continue reading
Posted in Curriculum, Pedagogy, Rants
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Factoring Trinomials – A Road Not Usually Taken
Let’s factor . Did you get ? [You can check this on WolframAlpha. Just copy and paste: (sqrt(10)x+sqrt((2*i*sqrt(30)13)x)+i*sqrt(3))(sqrt(10)xsqrt((2*i*sqrt(30)13)x)+i*sqrt(3)) into the search box.] Usually we find simpler linear factors when we factor a trinomial. In our case we would get or … Continue reading
Posted in Math Explorations
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