WitCH 115: Not So Complex

Last year we took a multiwhack at VICmaths, Nelson’s Year 12 Specialist Mathematics textbook, specifically at Nelsons chapter on logic and proof: see here, here, here, here, here and here. This post is the beginning of a second multiwhack, this time at Nelsons chapter on complex numbers. Continue reading “WitCH 115: Not So Complex”

Can a Maths Ed Theory Give Back More Than It Takes?

A year or so ago, a decades-long friend and colleague reappeared. My friend also has a strong interest in maths ed, although she takes the “Let’s all be friends” approach. Readers of this blog know well that I’ve given up on that, but still my friend and I can argue amicably about this and that. In particular, she took some issue with my “all modern maths ed sucks” post. While conceding that most educational research is bad, she was unwilling to write off the discipline entirely and she suggested a few things for me to read. I gave them a semi-decent try, and my response was “meh”. While the stuff she suggested was mostly reasonable, or even good, I felt it was, at best, addressing third order issues. One article, however, has had me pondering a little, and I thought it may be worth sharing.

Continue reading “Can a Maths Ed Theory Give Back More Than It Takes?”

A Tale of Three Cities

This is kind of a WitCH, but there’s plenty of non-crap as well. It is also properly a tale of two states and a planet, but the title was difficult to resist.

A few months ago a teacher-reader sent me three recent assessment questions from three different sources: NSW’s HSC Extension 2 Exam, the World’s IB Higher Level Analysis Exam, and Victoria’s VCE Specialist Mathematics Sample Assessment Tasks (SACs). All three questions involve integrating functions of the form \boldsymbol{x^ne^{kx}}, and the teacher-reader had suggested that there was a smell of plagiarism about it all. We weren’t convinced of that; the functions are very natural fodder for senior mathematics questions, and if there is arguably some borrowing, it is definitely not a Harvard standard of plagiarism. Indeed, the three questions are notably different in, um, style. That seemed worthy of a post.

Here are the three questions. Readers can have at it. Continue reading “A Tale of Three Cities”