Month: March 2024

Permutation vs Combination: Clarifying Our Terms

A couple recent questions dealt with details in the way permutations and combinations are explained. What do we mean when we say that “order matters” for a permutation, and that there is “no repetition” or that the things being chosen are “different”? Teachers need to know how students hear such words.

Looks Like a Frustum, But …

Last time we looked at how to find the volume of a frustum of a pyramid or cone. But sometimes what looks at first like a rectangular frustum actually isn’t. This case turns out to have a more general formula almost as nice as what we have for an actual frustum. We’ll discover that the …

Frustums: Not Frustrating but Fascinating

We’ve looked in the past at volumes and surface areas of familiar geometric shapes like spheres, pyramids, and cones; but more can be done. If we cut parallel to the base of a pyramid or cone, the result is called a frustum (no, not a frustrum!). Let’s derive some formulas, which will be remarkably simple.

Algebra Word Problems: Learning from Mistakes

A recent series of questions from an insightful high school student about word problems, provided a number of opportunities to discuss how to find and correct your mistakes – or the book’s! We’ll look at five.

Proving the Chain Rule: Details Matter

When we recently looked at the Chain Rule, I considered including two questions about its proof, but decided they would be too much. However, when a recent question asked about a different version of the same proof, I decided to post all three. It is a nice illustration of how a mathematician’s view of a …