# Alternatives

## Mean, Median, Mode: Which is Best?

It seems common for teachers to ask students which “measure of central tendency” (average) is best. Sometimes they ask this in a particular context (say, to report the “average” salary at a company); other times there is no context (other than perhaps some unidentified data). In the latter case, we generally consider the question to …

## Averaging Angles

(Archive Question of the Week) An interesting question that has been referred to many times since it was written in 1999 deals with averaging angles. At first the question seems trivial; then almost impossible; and then we end up with a rather simple formula that is totally unlike what we started with. And further applications …

## A Quadratic Diophantine Equation

(New Question of the Week) One of the strengths of the Math Doctors is the breadth of knowledge represented by our volunteers; we are all different. I have tended here to show the topics that I myself deal with, because those are what I can say most about; but whereas I focus mostly on elementary …

## Rounding: Contextual Issues

Previously, I discussed how to round a number to the nearest whole number [or tenth, ten, etc.]. I focused there on what to do when you are simply told to do it — what “round to nearest” means, and how that determines whether you round a particular number up or down. I also pointed out …

## When Can a Function Equal Its Inverse?

(New Question of the Week) This week I answered a seemingly simple question that can be solved in several different ways when presented as multiple choice, but is rather difficult as a straightforward algebra problem. Trying to guess what the “patient” had done yielded an invalid method that gave the right answer — or was it really invalid? …

## Rounding to the Nearest: The Basics

We frequently get questions about how to round; so many different issues arise that I won’t try to fit them all into one post. Children have trouble learning how to do it, and sometimes their parents are surprised to find that they are being taught a different way than they learned. There are several common …

## How to Find an Inverse Function: Conflicting Approaches

While pondering issues that often give students trouble in algebra, I decided to check what we have said in Ask Dr. Math about inverse functions. I discovered four answers (all, as it happens, written by me – I tend to be attracted to certain topics!) to essentially the same question, spread over 13 years. It …