This MitPY comes from frequent commenter, John Friend:
I gave a CAS-FREE question to my Specialist students whose first part was to solve (exactly) the equation . I solved it two different ways and got two different answers that are equivalent. I’ve attached my calculations.
I checked my answers using Mathematica, which lead to my question: Mathematica gives a third different but equivalent answer (scroll down to real solutions). How has Mathematica got this answer?
It may be that Mathematica ‘used’ my Method 2, got my tan answer and then for some arcane reason ‘manipulated’ this answer into the one it finally gives. If so, I can ascribe the answer to a Mathematica quirk. But it may be that Mathematica is using a method unclear to me that leads to its answer. If so, I’m curious.
This MitPY comes from frequent commenter, John Friend:
I figured this was as good place as any to ask for help. I’m writing a small test on rational functions. One of my questions asks students to consider the function where and to find the values of for which the function intersects its oblique asymptote.
The oblique asymptote is so they must first solve
for . The solution is and there are no restrictions along the way to getting this solution that I can see. So obviously .
It can also be seen that if then equation (1) becomes which has no solution. So obviously .
When I solve equation (1) using Wolfram Alpha the result is also . But here’s where I’m puzzled:
I have a question relating to polynomial equations. For context I have just finished Y11 during which I completed Further 3&4, Methods 1&2 and Specialist 1&2.
This year during my maths methods class we covered the square root graph, however I was confused as to why it only showed the positive solutions. When I asked about it I was told it was because the radical symbol meant only the positive solution.
However since then I have learnt that the graph of also only shows the positive solution of the square root, while shows both. I am quite confused by why they aren’t the same. The only reason that I could think of is that it would mean would be the same as , and while the points (-2,-4) and (2,-4) fit the latter they clearly don’t fit former.
Could you please explain why these aren’t the same?
This MitPY is from commenter HollyBolly, who asked on the previous MitPY for some advice on diplomacy.*
Can you guys after all the serious business give me some advice for this situation: on a middle school Pythagoras and trig test, for a not very strong group of students. Questions are to be different from routine ones provided with the textbook subscription. I try “Verify that the triangle with sides (here: some triple, different from 3 4 5) is right, then find all its angles”. After reviewing, the question comes back: “Verify by drawing that a triangle with sides…”
How do you respond if that review has come from:
A. The HoD;
B. A teacher with more years at the school than me but equal in responsibilities in the maths department;
C. A teacher fresh from uni, in their20s.
*) Yeah, yeah. We’ll stay right out of the discussion on this one.
This one comes from frequent commenter Red Five, and we apologise for the huge delay in posting. It is targeted at those familiar with and, more likely, struggling with Victoria’s VCE rituals:
VCAA uses some pretty strange words in exam questions, and the more exam papers I read, especially for Specialist Mathematics 34, the more I can’t get a firm idea of how they distinguish between the meanings of “show that“, “verify that” and “prove that“.
“Verify” seems to mean “by substitution”, “show that” seems to mean “given these very specific parameters” and “prove that” seems to be more general, but is it really this simple?
This MitPY is a request from frequent commenter, Red Five:
I’d like to ask what others think of teaching (mostly linear) Diophantine equations in early secondary school. They are nowhere in the curriculum but seem to be everywhere in competitions, including the AMC junior papers on occasion. I don’t see any reason to not teach them (even as an extension idea) but others may have some insights into why it won’t work.
A question for commenters: how to explain / teach integration by substitution? To organise discussion, consider the simple case
Here are some options.
1) Let . This gives , hence . So our integral becomes . Benefits: the abuse of notation here helps students get their integral in the correct form. Worry: I am uncomfortable with this because students generally just look at this and think “ok, so dy/dx is a fraction cancel top and bottom hey ho away we go”. I’m also unclear on whether, or the extent to which, I should penalise students for using this method in their work.
2) Let . This gives . So our integral becomes . Benefit. This last equality can be justified using chain rule. Worry: students find it more difficult to get their integral in the correct form.
3) has the form where and . Hence, the antiderivative is . This is just the antidifferentiation version of chain rule. Benefit. I find this method crystal clear, and – at least conceptually – so do the students. Worry. Students often aren’t able to recognise the correct structure of the functions to make this work.
So I’m curious how other commenters approach this, what they’ve found has been effective / successful, and what other pros / cons there are with various methods.
Following on from David’s comment below, and at the risk of splitting the discussion in two, we’ve posted a companion WitCH.
Hi, interested to know how other teachers/tutors/academics …give their students a feel for what the scalar and vector products represent in the physical world of and respectively. One attempt explaining the difference between them is given here. The Australian curriculum gives a couple of geometric examples of the use of scalar product in a plane, around quadrilaterals, parallelograms and their diagonals .
If you were teaching a (very) mixed ability Year 7 class in their first term of secondary school and had COMPLETE control over the curriculum, what would you start with as the first topic/lesson sequence?