Category Archives: Do It Yourself Learning

Children Learning on their own

  On a happier note, this is an old story now, but I think it bears repeating.  In this linked article from some years ago by Nicholas Negroponte, he writes about children in Ethiopia who were given tablet computers to … Continue reading

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Common Core Follies

The video of an Arkansas woman protesting Common Core math is blocked but it is amazing to me and it is only one of a  great many out there on the follies of Common Core math.  The woman is addressing … Continue reading

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Signed numbers, Negative numbers

Negative numbers create problems for many math learners, and really, for good reasons.  We don’t really encounter negative numbers in real life that often.  If we somehow  bounce a check,  buy something that declines in value, or suffer a loss … Continue reading

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Simple Division and Rational Numbers aka Fractions

Let’s return to simpler math for this post;  middle school math to be exact.    J has some unique features that make it an excellent tool for teaching division, fractions, and decimals. Most calculators and computer programs have historically made … Continue reading

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Much Simpler Matrix Operations. Addition, Subtraction, and Scalar Multiplication.

Multiplying a matrix by a scalar (a single number) is a much simpler matter than multiplying a matrix by a matrix.  In the example below you just multiply each number in the matrix times 3:           … Continue reading

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Determinants – The 3×3 Matrix.

Once again, we’ll take a problem from Kelley’s Algebra pg. 122-123, Problem 6.  This is a 3 x 3 Matrix, still a square matrix but the calculation of the determinants is not as straight forward as the 2 x 2 Matrix.  Both … Continue reading

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Determinants – How to Calculate the Determinants for a 2×2 Matrix

In order to calculate the determinant for a matrix, it must be a square matrix, with equal rows and columns.  The easiest square matrix to find the determinant is one that is 2×2.   See Kelley’s Algebra pg. 121-122.  Below, … Continue reading

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Determinants in Matrix Algebra: Why are they important?

I had a difficult time making sense of this topic.  Good mathematicians frequently have trouble teaching math—I’m guessing—because they have mastered the art of thinking in numbers but are unable to translate that into English.  Or perhaps—I’m also guessing—a subject … Continue reading

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Matrix Multiplication Algebra

I wouldn’t wish pencil and paper matrix multiplication algebra on my worst enemy.  Well, on second thought……  Anyway, Michael Kelley describes it as, “The trickiest thing you’ll need to do with matrices.”  In Kelley’s Algebra, Chapter 9, pg 118-120, he … Continue reading

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Skip Cramer’s Rule and just do Helzer’s Matrix Divide in J

In the last post,  we demonstrated the use of Cramer’s Rule as explained by Michael Kelley in Algebra Chapter 9.  We saw that Cramer’s Rule works in J, but in this post and in a previous post using  Matrix Divide … Continue reading

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