Strategies

A Random Walk on a Graph

(A new question of the week) It seems that most of the interesting questions recently have been about relatively advanced topics, though commonly in introductory classes. Here, we’ll help a student think through a problem introducing the idea of a random walk on a graph. (“Graph” here doesn’t mean the graph of an equation, which …

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Arithmetic Series, Backward

Here is a recent question about arithmetic sequences and series (specifically, reversing the process to find the number of terms given the sum), that nicely illustrates a common type of interaction with a student: gathering information about both problem and student, then guiding them to use what they know, or giving new information as needed. …

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Fractions and Felonies

(A new question of the week) A recent question involved a word problem about fractions, which will fit in nicely with the current series on fractions. We’ll explore several ways to solve a rather tricky fraction word problem, some avoiding fractions as much as possible, some focusing on the meaning of the fractions, and others …

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A Mind-Stretching Exercise with a Stretched Cosine

(A new question of the week) A question in September, about graphing a horizontally-stretched cosine function, led to a long conversation. Between a typo in the problem and some inside-out thinking, this surprisingly non-routine problem led to some good mind-stretching! I have edited this down considerably by removing distractions from the main ideas, but it …

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Overlapping Square Tiles

(A new question of the week) An interesting geometry question came to us in July, about the area of overlap between two squares. The discussion was not long, but leads to some interesting ideas. Here is the initial question, from Vignesh: This is the problem I need help with: Two square tiles of area 9 …

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