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Browse Middle School Definitions

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Algebra Terms: 'Evaluate' and 'Simplify' [7/30/1996]
What do the terms "evaluate" and "simplify" mean in expressions like "evaluate 3-{2-3(2-7)}" or "simplify -3x{7-(3x-5)}"?

All About Functions [11/06/1996]
Could you please explain functions?

Are Negatives Factors of Other Numbers? [07/16/2003]
Are negative numbers factors of other numbers? Is -3 a factor of 3? Is -3 a multiple of 3?

Common Difference, Common Ratio [04/21/2003]
Differences in arithmetic and geometric sequences.

Definition of Ratio [08/21/2003]
How is 'ratio' defined by mathematicians?

Explementary Angles [05/29/2003]
What do we call two angles that add up to 360 degrees?

Finding the Next Number in a Sequence
Given Its Geometric Mean ... Which Is a Square Root
A student who knows how to calculate geometric means gets rattled when trying to determine a sequence from its square root geometric mean.

Fraction Bar Name [12/14/1996]
What is the name of the little line that separates the divisor from the dividend in a standard division question?

Measurement: Precision vs. Accuracy [01/07/2003]
Using a metric ruler student A measured the length of an object to the nearest tenth (0.1) of a centimeter, while student D measured its length to the nearest centimeter. Which measurement is more accurate?

Millimeters, Inches, Feet, Miles [07/10/2003]
The conversions given for millimeters to inches is 25.4, and for feet to miles is 5280. Are these numbers exact?

Multiplication's Multiple Meanings: Unified by the Distributive [01/01/2015]
Area? Matrix multiplication? Scaling and rotation? A parent seeks a global understanding — or at least some internal consistency — as to what ties together all the operations called "multiplication." Building up from the natural numbers, where multiplication is repeated addition (MIRA), Doctor Peterson teases out two common threads.

Nomographs [06/12/2003]
What are nomographs used for? How does one use them? Are they still in use? and last but not least, How are they constructed?

The Number e [6/3/1996]
Is "e" a number like Pi? How does "e" relate to continued fractions?

On Polygons, Polygons within Polygons, and Definitions [07/22/2010]
If we cut one polygon out of the interior of another, is the resulting shape a polygon? Doctor Peterson gives a curious student a better definition than he found in his book, pointing out the importance of separating polygons from their interiors -- and of experimenting with definitions.

Percent vs. Percentage [08/17/2002]
What's the difference between percent and percentage?

What is a Quadratic Equation? [08/04/1997]
What is a quadratic equation? What is it used for? How can we use it to solve everyday problems?

What is Calculus? [05/06/1997]
What is calculus and how does it work?

What is Slope? [9/2/1996]
What is a slope, and if given a slope = n equation, how do you apply that slope number to another graph problem?

2 Square Feet vs. 2 Feet Square [11/22/1998]
What is the difference between 2 square feet and 2 feet square?

Abbreviation of Ounce [04/27/2002]
Why is the abbreviation for ounce oz.?

Additive Identity and Other Properties [01/03/1999]
Can you explain the identity of zero and the commutative and multiplicative properties? Why are they special?

Adjacent Angles [09/19/2001]
What is the definition of adjacent angles?

Adjacent Primes [11/26/2001]
What are adjacent primes?

Age Classifications [08/24/2001]
I'm trying to complete a table for age classes (octogenarian = 80s, nonagenarian = 90s, etc.).

The Algebra of Complements and Supplements [01/25/1999]
What are complements and supplements? How do you translate these concepts into algebra?

Alternate Exterior Angles [06/03/2002]
What is an 'alternate exterior angle'?

Angles: Acute, Right, Obtuse, Reflex [06/06/2001]
How can I remember what the names of angles mean?

Are Angles Dimensionless? [08/31/2003]
If you look at the dimensions in the equation arc length = r*theta, it appears that angles must be dimensionless. But this can't be right. Or can it?

Arithmetic vs. Exponential Increases [05/06/1999]
What does "....the work produced... will increase exponentially rather than arithmetically" mean?

As Big As vs. Bigger Than [09/05/2015]
Fifth graders misinterpret the wording of magnitude comparison questions — or do they? Doctor Peterson discusses the ambiguity before proposing a way forward.

Associative, Distributive Properties [9/5/1996]
Please explain the associative and distributive properties.

Average [05/10/2001]
Is it true that the average of a set of data is always computed by adding all the numbers together and dividing by the total number?

Barycenter [08/30/1997]
I need to know the definition of barycenter and how to find it.

Basic Real Number Properties [07/31/1997]
I need information about basic real number properties: associative, commutative, closure, identity, inverse, distributive.

Benchmarks [03/25/2001]
What is a benchmark? Could you please give me an example?

Bits (Money) [02/26/2001]
In the cheer: Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar; All for (school), Stand up and holler! what are bits?

British Thermal Units [7/8/1996]
What is the formula for converting BTU (British Thermal Units)?

Can a Circle be a Polygon? [5/22/1996]
Could a circle be considered a polygon with an infinite number of sides?

Can a Rhombus Be a Square? [01/15/2004]
General strategy to determine if one geometric shape definition also applies to another geometric figure.

Can Negative Fractions Also Be Proper or Improper? [03/31/2004]
Is a fraction like -3/4 considered a proper fraction? Is -8/3 considered an improper fraction? I've generally thought that all proper fractions lie between 0 and 1 on a number line, but how do the negatives fit in?

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