# AQOTW

## A Tank with a Conical End

(An archive question of the week) Last time I surveyed what we have said about the volume of liquid in various kinds of tanks. One more special case I ran across deserved more detailed attention, because it demonstrates in detail how to do the calculations without much knowledge of calculus. The problem Here is the …

## Venn Diagrams: Over the Top

(An archive question of the week) Last time we looked at various 2- and 3-set Venn diagram problems (and alternative methods). One discussion I found while collecting them deserved to be set aside for special examination, if only because it would scare the beginner. A mixture of tools will make the work easier. Here it …

## A Fermi Problem

(An archive problem of the week) A couple weeks ago, in discussing the value of estimates, I included one example of a (very simple) Fermi problem: one in which it is necessary to invent the data as well as the method of solution. Today, I will examine one answer in which we dug deeper into …

## The Method of False Position: Old and New

(An archive question of the week) Last time, as part of our series on estimation, we looked at some numerical methods for solving equations approximately. I mentioned the Method of False Position, but when I looked for more detailed expositions in our archive, I realized that in a sense it is really two different things, …

## Estimation vs. Other Ways to Check Subtraction

(An archive question of the week) Last time I looked at reasons for learning to estimate. In searching for answers on that topic, I ran across a question that touches not just on reasons for estimation, but on other ways to check an answer, and on some of the specific ideas we will be looking …

## Integration: More Than One Way, More Than One Answer

(An archive question of the week) In searching for answers to include in Monday’s post on calculus fallacies, I ran across a long discussion that illustrates some important aspects of methods of integration. In particular, there are often multiple ways to find an integral (the best not necessarily being the one taught in your textbook); …

## Finding the Radius of a Sphere

(An archive question of the week) An interesting question came to us in 2016, where rather than using a well-known formula, it was necessary to work out both what data to use, and how to calculate the desired radius.

## Principles for Solving a Formula

(An archive question of the week) Last time I discussed issues that arise in solving a simple algebraic equation. In researching that, I found a discussion of solving a formula for a variable (which in some countries is called “making x the subject”, that is, changing an equation involving x into the form “x = …

## What is a Fraction, Really?

(An archive question of the week) One of the things I have learned as a Math Doctor is that it can be dangerous looking up a definition online. Sources vary — not because they are wrong, but because definitions depend on context, so you can easily find what appear to be contradictions because they refer …

## What Are Trig Functions, Really?

(An archive question of the week) Trigonometric functions are sometimes introduced without a deep explanation of their meaning; they are just buttons to push on a calculator, or names to write in an equation. Even when a textbook gives a careful presentation, there are so many facets to the concept that it can be easy …