Category: Math by Subject

Abandoning Ship on Wolfram Alpha?

I am really getting fed up tired of having to explain Wolfram Alpha graphs to students.  For some reason, the default in Wolfram Alpha is to graph everything with imaginary numbers.  This results in bizarre-looking graphs and makes it near-impossible to use Wolfram Alpha as a teaching tool for undergraduate mathematics, a real shame.  Now that Google has entered the online graphing fray, I have a wary hope that the programmers at Wolfram Alpha might finally (after two years of waiting) fix the problem. Here are a few examples.  I’ll show you the graph in Wolfram Alpha, on a...

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History of Numeration Systems

I just stumbled upon this great little video about Ancient Numeration Systems.  It does not go into depth on any particular system, but it wanders through the following: Tally marks Sumerian symbols Babylonian symbols Egyptian symbols Roman symbols and modifications of it Number systems based on the body (Zulu) Commerce-based number systems (Yoruba in Nigeria) Number systems involving knots and string (Persians, Incans) Numerals 0-9 (invented in India) Place value Fractions as a solution for “fair-share” situations in culture Unit Fractions (Egyptians) Fractions with base-60 (Sumerians and Babylonians), still used for time measurements today Abacus (Chinese) Use of the...

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Collection of Math Games

To view the collections of Math Games, hover over the Games Menu, and go to one of the dropdown categories.   Possibly Related Posts: Group Exploration in Math Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM AMATYC Keynote Notes: Challenge and Curiosity Full version of Algeboats is out! Board Games that Change...

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Signed Numbers: Colored Counters in a “Sea of Zeros”

The “colored counter” method is an old tried-and-true method for teaching the concept of adding signed numbers.  However, to show subtraction with the colored counter method has always seemed painful to me … that is, until I altered the method slightly. Now all problems are demonstrated within a “Sea of Zeros” and when you need to take away counters, you can simply borrow from the infinite sea.  Voila!  Here’s a short video to demonstrate addition and subtraction of integers using the “Sea of Zeros” method.  You can print some Colored Counter Paper here. Video: Colored Counters in a Sea...

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Math about the Electoral College

This was a surprisingly good video about the math of the U.S. Electoral College system.  At first I kept saying “but wait a minute…” but all my concerns were addressed in the video, and then some.  I was surprised by the revelation (towards the end of the video) that it is theoretically possible (although not likely) to win the seat of President of the United States with less than 23% of the popular vote.  Wow. There is some great math of ratios and percents here.  You can find data and other pertinent information about the Electoral College here. You...

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