I use the Ask Dr. Math archives because my students REALLY read
through them. Letters are engaging for middle schoolers! It's as if
they are reading some other kid's note -- there is a buy-in right away.
Then as they continue they start realizing that they understand the
question and sometimes they are surprised that they understand the
answer. The math doctors have a way with the inquiry method that leads
the reader through the problem, so that the students learn new
problem-solving methods. -S.A.
I like showing kids the site and looking at the kinds of questions
people send in and what answers are given. It gives me ideas for
problems to give my students, with some background info provided by
"Dr. Math" that helps me ask appropriate questions to probe thinking.
In other words, it teaches me some mathematics that supports my
teaching. (Elementary teachers don't generally enter the classroom well
prepared to teach math, and we need all the help we can get!)
When I look at the archives with small groups of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or
5th graders, they never want to stop! They clamor for me to click on
one more topic to see what is there. The site serves to broaden their
horizons from school math to seeing math as a rich, varied topic. ...It
is very interesting to see what kids ask. There is a lot to be learned
right there, since we assume they think in certain ways and their
questions reveal quite a different story. Who would expect primary
students to wonder who made up zero, or who invented the plus sign!
Many thanks for your help tonight with my sixth grade daughter's
homework question, "What is an eleven-sided polygon called?" She had
been sent home with instructions not to ask her mother, me, a high
school math teacher, and frankly, the magic of searching your site was
just as good as finding the answer. After all, we all know that finding
an elegant solution is the true beauty of mathematics! She tells me
that the Ask Dr. Math site was as close to asking me as she could get.
Many thanks for your help. By the way, my husband was very impressed
that we were talking to the Math God, John Conway. -J.H.
I am an engineer with a bunch of kids, and I typically teach a class
for each of them once or twice a year. I was asked this time to teach
multiplying and dividing fractions. I stumbled across your Web site,
and will be using some of your solved problems in my lesson. I'm used
to dissecting frogs and building small bridges, and was concerned that
this would be a mighty dry lecture. Your material will be a very big
help. Thanks for your help, and for your commitment to educating kids.
The cylinder in the sphere problem made its way into Ask Marilyn
but her answer was really difficult to interpret. Your explanation is
far clearer... Thanks. -R.W.
I just want to take a moment to thank all you great people out there
who dedicate your time to help out frustrated kids like me. Your great
site has helped me more than once, and almost our whole math class uses
your site to help us, too. I like the variety of questions you keep in
your archives that save time for everyone. I hope you people continue
to do this for a long time. THANK YOU! -M.
I think that what you are doing is great. In NY state we take a test
at the end of the year called a "regents" exam. This one test
determines if we pass or fail the course. Well, I have a math regents
in 9 hours, and I really needed help with permutations and
combinations, and you helped me. -M.
Thanks for helping me renew my 10-year-old daughter's faith in
finding answers to educational subjects on the Internet. Tonight
we both were stuck on the proper way to add and multiply fractions.
We have it down pat now. Thanks once again. -L.C.
I am a full time single father with two little girls eleven and
four. It has been many years since I learned or practiced sixth grade
math so when I am aproached by my eleven-year-old about math homework I
can't always help. I stumbled upon your website by accident and would
just like to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I have found the
answers to all of her questions (so far) on this web site. You are
making raising my children easier and for that I can not thank you
enough. Now if I could only find a website that would help me talk to
her about boys. -A.B.
I'm a trig teacher who was out browsing and found your site. What
a fantastic resource! My students are going to be deluged with
printouts tomorrow to questions that I have forgotten to answer or
that I have found absolutely fascinating. Wonderful job you are
doing there! -A.S.
In April you answered a question about how to use latitude and
longitude to calculate distances. This was exactly the question I
needed an answer to today. I have included a little Excel spreadsheet
that implements exactly your calculations, for your or anyone else's
I recently submitted a question to Dr. Math about a problem I was
having with i. Within a couple of days I received a response that
helped me. Dr. Math explained enough for me to understand the solution,
yet left enough unexplained to make me rethink the problem. You have
managed to answer more for me in two days then my teachers could in two
years! I just wanted to thank you and I hope you will continue helping
students like me for a long time to come. -J.M.
I would like to thank you for putting this site together. As a
person who scored a ONE on my ACT (ouch), I find it a daunting
task to help my 5th grade daughter with her math problems. Today it was
labeling triangles. I needed definitions and this site proved to be a
blessing. Thanks! -J.B.
Thank you for the wonderful information. I was assigned a project
about proving the Pythagorean theorem and your site gave me all the
information that I needed. I really appreciate the help and wanted to
express that. Thanks again! -E.F.
I would just like to tell you guys what a great site you have here.
I see many questions (both on your pages and in life) as to why math is
important. I myself once thought that "I will never use this stuff."
Now I wish I had paid closer attention in class during high school. As
an Economics senior at Radford University, I find a greater use for
math with every passing day. Whether it is integrals, statistics, or
whatever, math plays a very important role in my studies.
I just wanted to let you guys know that yours is the first site I
have found that is so complete. I use this site often. It is
interesting to go back and brush up on some of the things that I have
forgotten, as well as learn new things and applications from the
questions of others. Again, I salute your efforts and they are very
much appreciated. It is my opinion that yours is the best math-related
site on the Internet. -H.D.
I've used a good number of lessons from your site and have found
them really great! Keep up the great work. You help me feel "connected"
to a larger mathematics community - which is important for high school
teachers! Thanks again, -T.E.
I'm 52 years old and find myself back in college struggling with
mathematics. Thank god I have stumbled onto this site. Just reading the
questions and your answers has already been a great help to me. Thank
you again. -T.B.
Thank you so much Dr. Math! I am a college student at Illinois State
University majoring in Elementary Education, and I ran into a
problem that you helped me with. In my math methods class I have to
explain why invert and multiply works when dividing fractions. I had no
idea until I checked your website and there was an explanation. I'm so
glad that you take the time to help people with their math questions
(even college students!) Keep up the great work. -L.H.
I would like to thank you for a wonderful web site! The problems
not only made my students think, but gave them practice in articulating
their thinking processes. Keep up the great work! -A.B.
I recently discovered the 'Math Forum' pages and I've been
especially amazed at the loads of interesting questions and answers.
I'm currently studying mathematics at a university here in Germany, but
I never quite realized how many interesting problems there are even on
the elementary school level. I can only congratulate you on your choice
of problems and on the imaginative and well written solutions you
I really appreciate your help! As a home school teacher, I visit
this site often. It has been a big help - sometimes I just get stuck!
I am a calculus student and am using this site for the first time.
I found the archives very helpful. All my questions were answered
including a few I have wondered about but never thought to ask. Thanks!
I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I write
teacher's editions for K-12 science texts, and got called by my
publisher yesterday. Seems they'd lost my references for a bit about
Descartes and spirals. I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough about math
to have written this bit off the cuff, so I knew it came from
SOMEWHERE. Off I went to the library on a search for the elusive
I'll-know-it-when-I-see-it book. No luck. Surely, I thought, one of
these other 427 books will have SOMETHING about Descartes and spirals.
Hah! So I hit the Net, thinking, of course, that this would take HOURS.
Instead, I found what I was looking for right here, right away. THANK
After reading your directions for subtracting mixed numbers I have
learned how to do these problems and now everyone asks me where
I learned math so quickly. I just tell them Dr. Math helped! -G.H.