Ask Dr. Math: The Math Doctors' Newsletter

by Stacey Bearden

September, 1999

Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 09:19:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Stacey Bearden
To: All Dr. Math Doctors
Subject: Dr. Math in September

Ask Dr. Math Newsletter
September, 1999

Greetings, docs!  Usually here is where I welcome you to the new month, 
but since we're already pretty far along, I think I'll skip that. But 
where I live, all the trees are turning beautiful colors, so I welcome 
you to that, if you live in an area where that happens.

We apologize for the server problems we've been having. Unfortunately, 
they caused me some difficulty in getting into triage, which is why the 
newsletter is late.  But when I _did_ get through, imagine what I found...

8847 -- incoming questions
2223 -- answered questions
25.1 -- percent answered

Wow! At the end of last school year, I was excited to report that we'd 
received 6000 questions in one month. But now we're up to just about 9000.  
That's a huge increase - can anyone do the math :-) ? If you count all
the bad-address questions we have to delete, we're way over 9000 incoming 
questions per month now.

Now seems a good time to welcome our new docs for September; maybe they 
can help with this tremendous load!  Say hello to...

Dr. Shelly
Dr. Sandi
Dr. Lk
Dr. Aileen

Also, congratulations to our newly tenured doc:

Dr. Lilla

And I must apologize; I forgot to include an August tenure in last 
month's newsletter.  A big congratulations to

Dr. Jesse


How do you round a number to the nearest tenth (10th),
hundredth (100th), thousandth (1000th), etc.?

See "Rounding Numbers" in the Dr. Math FAQ:



More than 125 new question-and-answer entries were added
to the tables of contents during September of 1999.


Some of you may recall a blurb from a past newsletter about a journalist 
wanting to speak with some math docs. Well, some docs spoke with her, as 
did I, and she wrote a lovely article. Dr. Math is one of two services 
featured in this article for The Guide to Math & Science Reform, and she 
details us quite well. Take a look - you'll find some great quotes from 
your fellow docs.

In addition, a journalist from the San Francisco Chronicle interviewed me 
about our service for an article about online homework help.  Dr. Math 
certainly isn't featured quite as much, but we do come off quite well.  


And now... Tip of the Month!

September's Tip:  Be careful not to do the students' homework for them!  
It can be tempting to answer the question the student asks, but be sure 
not to detail the steps and answer of the student's problem. You can be 
creative in your techniques, but here are a few suggestions: you could 
do a similar example, give some hints, help them set up the problems, 
point them to an archive category or URL, etc.  Stay tuned for more on 
this topic.


Every month there are a couple of notes that I can't identify. This month 
there were several, perhaps due to server problems, so I've decided to 
include them here. I've included the subject, date, and email address, so 
maybe you can identify it as yours.


Thank you -  now I understand base 5.

Just to say thanks for all the help.  Junior - Simpson College, IA.

Quadratic Equations
Thanks for your help! Now I can finish my math homework.

I just want to thank you. I was having problems at work and I forgot
how to subtract mixed fractions and you really helped me. This was my
problem: 10 11/16 - 8 3/4 = 1 15/16.
I work in the printing office and it is important that I measure
materials accurately or else the job can come out awful. I can't have
that. Thanks again!

Thanks for your response! Yes I believe that's what she is looking for.
Would have helped if my daughter had the right spelling.
- Cathy

Thanx for helping me through this time of exams! I really got good 
marks, and I feel that I have improved, in all my subjects not just 
maths. Thanx a lot!

Converting an angle to radians....
Thank you very much. Precisly what I needed :)
- Jason

Thanks for the Specialized Math Help
Thanks for the Help.


Word Problem
Thank you very much for answering my question. The solution I got was 
30 note cards and 5 greeting cards, but my approach was quite different
(and probably more exasperating) than yours. I appreciate the lesson!
Sincerely,  Karen


Solving Exponential Equations
Hi, sorry for the confusion in the symbol, what I meant for it to be 
was a division sign, and somehow I made it a percent sign. Anyway, 
thanks for your help.


For all those that I _could_ identify, I'll be sending them along to each 
recipient soon.  Watch your inboxes!

Until next time,

Dr. Stacey
Doctor Math Administrator
The Math Forum