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MIDDLE SCHOOL

About Math

Algebra
   equations
   factoring expressions
   graphing equations

Arithmetic
   division
   exponents
   factorials
   factoring numbers
   fractions/percents
   logarithms

Definitions

Geometry
   2-dimensional
     conic sections/
       circles
     triangles/polygons
   3D and higher
     polyhedra

History/Biography
Logic

Measurement
   calendars/
     dates/time
   temperature
   terms/units

Number Sense
   factoring numbers
   negative numbers
   pi
   prime numbers
   square roots

Probability
Puzzles
Ratio/Proportion
Statistics
Word Problems

Browse Middle School About Math
Stars indicate particularly interesting answers or good places to begin browsing.

Selected answers to common questions:
    Art and mathematics.
    Law and mathematics.
    Medicine and mathematics.
    Music and mathematics.
    Poetry and mathematics.
    What is mathematics?
    Was math invented or discovered?



Precedence of Unary Operators [09/01/99]
The PEMDAS rule for order of operations ignores unary operators. Can you explain the proper precedence for them, and give an example showing how not knowing the rule can cause an incorrect result?

Questions About Math [07/31/1999]
Why was the Cartesian plane invented? Were the more abstract branches of math developed just for fun? What is chaos theory? Why isn't Einstein's equation e = mc^3?

Ratios and Proportions in Everyday Life [05/13/2002]
How are ratios and proportions used in everyday life?

Representing a Number [10/29/2001]
How can you represent the number three without using any letters or variables or the digits 1 through 9?

Rhumb Lines and Great Circle Routes [09/24/1998]
Can you explain great circles and rhumb lines and how they relate to shortest distances in geometry?

Science or Art? [05/29/2001]
Is math a science or an art?

The Second Millennium [11/29/1999]
Does the second millennium begin with the year 2000 or the year 2001? How does this relate to the math of counting numbers and subtraction?

Slide Rules [03/13/1999]
Can you help me learn how to use a slide rule?

Solve a Simpler Problem [09/25/2000]
What day of the week is the 3,824th day after Wednesday? How will this help me in life?

Solving Problems Without Paper [9/1/1995]
I'm in 7th grade and I'm having trouble solving problems in my head instead of on paper. Do you have some ideas on what will help me?

Struggling with Math [3/26/1996]
What should I do?

Talking About Zero, Absolute Zero and Negative Numbers [11/12/2003]
Are there any useful strategies other than temperature to introduce negative numbers, and also to teach about zero, its properties, and how they differ from those of absolute zero?

Teaching the Concept/Meaning of Sum [10/23/2001]
To me "the answer to an addition problem or equation" is not a true or necessarily useful definition. I define the sum as the whole or total...

Times Greater Than, Times As Much As [05/02/1999]
A number is five times greater than x. Will this number be 6x or 5x?

Tips for Studying [06/02/2001]
I'm in grade 8, so this is the first year of exams for me and I don't know how to study.

Tricks for Solving Math Problems [9/27/1995]
Do you know any tricks for working math problems quickly?

Types of Numbers [10/30/1998]
How are the different types of numbers related? For example, what about counting, whole, rational, irrational, integers, prime, ... ?

Undefined Geometry Terms [09/16/2001]
I know that they call point, line, and plane the undefined terms of geometry, but is there a way to give those terms a definition?

Understanding Graphs [10/30/2002]
How do we use algebra or graphs in real life?

Use of Math in Various Careers [11/06/2004]
Just briefly, how is math related to history, poly sci, visual communications, business, and psychology? I am giving a persuasive speech to a group of college freshmen and I want to make them realize how important it is to have math in their background.

What Are Variables For? [02/09/2001]
Why is it important to be able to figure out the values of variables?

What Do Parentheses Mean? [08/15/2002]
Can you help me find ways to figure out what parentheses mean?

What If There Was No Zero? [10/21/2003]
Why did it take so long to discover zero? Why did early civilizations not need zero? How would math as we know it be different if there was no zero?

What is an Algorithm? [10/21/2001]
Please define and explain algorithm, and include an example.

What is Math? [10/04/1997]
Is math a science, an art, or some other anomaly?

What is Math? [09/14/2001]
Mathematics as the study of abstractions.

What is Mathematical Modeling? [11/08/2002]
I am looking for documentation that would describe the difference between calculations and mathematical modeling.

What is Mathematics? [09/22/2000]
Please tell me the definition of maths.

What is Trigonometry? [8/20/1996]
What is trigonometry, and what is it used for?

When Do We Need to Know Roman Numerals? [08/26/2003]
I have a student who does not see how learning Roman numerals will benefit her. What advice can you give her to make this learning experience more relevant to her life and needs?

When is the expression Q.E.D. used? [02/15/1999]
More on Q.E.D.

Who Invented Binary? [05/07/2000]
Who invented the binary system of numbers and when was it developed?

Who uses Calculus? [12/13/1995]
I was wondering how calculus is used: what professions, in what situations?

Why Does Order of Operations Work the Way It Does? [05/04/2004]
What is the logic behind order of operations? Why do exponents come before the other operations, and why does multiplication and division come before addition and subtraction? How was this all decided?

Why Do We Have to Study Math in School? [02/25/2005]
A freshman in high school questions the point of learning lots of math that he will never use in real life, and Dr. Ian replies with some interesting thoughts about the benefits of studying math.

Why Do We Like Math? [3/25/1996]
Why do you like math so much? I find it to be a real pain and kind of boring. :-)

Why Do We Need to Study Rational Numbers? [04/22/2008]
My students want to know why they need to know what rational numbers are and what use they have in the real world.

Why Estimate? [09/16/2002]
Why do we use estimation?

Why Find the LCM? [10/07/1998]
Where do you use LCMs? How do they apply to real life?

Why is Math Interesting? [01/16/2001]
Why does math have to be so boring and hard?

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