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# Category: Thoughts about maths thinking

Anything about the thinking processes required to learn and do maths, especially those about problem-solving and communicating.

#### The Seven Sticks and what mathematics is

This week I provided games and puzzles at a welcome lunch for new students in the Mathematical Sciences degree programs. I had big logic puzzles and maths toys and also a list of some of my eight most favourite puzzles on tables with paper tablecloths to write on.

One of the puzzles is the Seven Sticks […]

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#### Zooming in to see the slope

A lot of people introduce the derivative at a point as the slope of the tangent at that point, which to me is quite confusing. It seems to me that the reason we want the derivative is that it is a measure of the slope of our actual function at that point, not the slope […]

#### The Number Dress-Up Party

I created the Number Dress-Up Party puzzle way back in 2017 and every so often I stumble across it again when searching Twitter for other stuff. When I stumbled across it today, I decided it was time to write it up in a blog post.

The puzzle goes like this:

The Number Dress-Up Party

All the numbers have […]

#### Who is worthy to ask stupid and smart questions?

This post was going to be part of the Virtual Conference of Mathematical Flavours, which you can see all the keynote speakers and presentations here: https://samjshah.com/mathematical-flavors-convention-center/. The prompt for all the blog posts that are part of this conference is this: “How does your class move the needle on what your kids think about the doing of math, or what counts as […]

#### TMC Crochet Coral Quietness

Here is another blog post in my series of only-a-year-late posts about Twitter Math Camp 2017 (TMC17). In this one I want to talk about the Crochet Coral workshops Megan and I did, but I don’t want to actually talk about the crochet coral. Instead I want to talk about the quietness.

TMC was a wild wild […]

#### The unexpected fear of statistics

Statistics is the cause of a lot of fear. There are thousands of students studying psychology, sociology, economics, biology, medicine, animal science and education who thought they would be free of mathematics and suddenly discover they have to deal with statistics. In the case of psychology it is absolutely everywhere: both in whole courses about statistics, […]

#### Remainders remain a puzzle

My first post of 2018 is a record of some rambling thoughts about remainders. I may or may not come to a final moral here, so consider yourself warned.

What has prompted these ramblings today was reading this excellent post by Kristin Gray about her own thoughts on division and remainders. In that post, I saw […]

#### The Arts students’ maths brain

Yesterday I talked about one of the common responses to people finding out I am a mathematician/maths teacher, that of saying, “I’m not a maths person.” The other common response I get is, “I don’t have a maths brain.” (John Rowe mentioned this in his comment on the previous post.)

This is how I reacted last […]

#### Actually, I am a maths person

I am a mathematician and a maths teacher. Therefore it is an occupational hazard that any random person who finds out what my job is will respond with “I’m not a maths person.” The most frustrating people are my own students who I am trying to tell that my actual job is to help them […]

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#### Childhood memories

Two books I’ve read recently have encouraged me to investigate my memories from childhood. In Tracy Zager’s “Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had“, she urged me to think about my maths autobiography to see what influenced my current feelings about maths. In Stuart Brown’s “Play“, he urged me to think about my play […]

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