Dr. Math answers questions about mathematics from students and their teachers. Questions can be about homework, puzzles, math contests, or anything else related to mathematics. However, we are not specialists in math education or math teaching methods - for those kinds of questions you might try these resources for Math Education or Secondary education.
How to use Dr. MathA classroom activity or assignment that involves an entire class submitting questions to Dr. Math is not an appropriate use of our service (see below for the reasons why).
However, Dr. Math can be used effectively in a classroom situation. Here are some suggestions:
- Have your students visit our archives and browse through topics that interest them. If they want to (or if you want them to!) they can write reports on the process. We have written a number of FAQ (frequently asked questions) files; students might enjoy doing something similar.
- Have your students formulate questions that interest them. Then have them search or browse the archives trying to answer these questions. We hope that many people's questions can be answered this way when the student finds either the same question or a similar question that can be an example to follow. If your students don't find anything and they're confident that they've done a thorough search, have them submit their questions to us.
This activity will help your students learn how to do an effective search of an Internet resource, and will also help them realize that it's always better to use an existing resource than a new one (a sentiment echoed in most discussion newsgroups, where the participants want each other to be familiar with the FAQ files and the archives of past discussions).
Why can't we answer questions from every student in a class?
- The Math Doctors are real people volunteering their time, and because we don't have an infinite number of Math Doctors, we don't possess the resources to answer that many incoming questions.
- We answer the most recent questions first. Therefore, many questions from one class can effectively push all previous questions aside and prevent their being answered. This is unfair to other students.
- If your students are all expecting answers from Dr. Math, most will be disappointed when they receive no answer. This is not because we are punishing your students, but because we don't have the resources to answer that many questions.
- Every time a question is sent to us, it triggers a piece of software that will place it in the question queue. A deluge of questions all at once will strain our computer's brain and make it explode (well, maybe not explode, but it does start acting funny!).
Thursday, 23-Jul-2009 16:14:28 EDT
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