# Impossible questions continue

By Murray Bourne, 28 Jun 2006

I keep getting odd questions from the Question facility in Interactive Mathematics. This question has no return name or email address, so how can I follow it up? How am I supposed to answer it? Give me a break...

how to use various mathematical sign

If students are not educated in a context of question asking, it is not surprising that they find it very difficult to ask good questions - or even ask questions that make any sense.

### 4 Comments on “Impossible questions continue”

1. arron says:

Let f be the function given by f(x)= e^(-2x^2) (read as e raised to the negative 2 x squared)

(a) Find the first four nonzero terms and the general term of the power seriews for f(x) about x=0.

(b) Find the interval of convergence of the power seriews for f(x) about x = 0. Show the analysis that leads to your conclusion.

(c) Let g be the function given by the sum of the first four nonzero terms of the power seriews for f(x) about x=0. Show that l f(x) - g(x) l

2. Murray says:

Hi Arron and thank you for your question.

I'm sorry if my post came across as arrogant to you. My point was that many students have problems asking questions properly, because in most classrooms, they are told to be quiet and listen. If teachers encouraged more discussion, then students would have more question asking skills, making it easier for others to understand where the problem lies.

I would use the Mclaurin Series expansion of the function for part (a), giving 1 − 2x2 + 2x4 − (4/3)x6 + ...

For (b), I would use this process.

Question (c) is incomplete.

My favorite, from my math site "Contact us" form, was a one-liner with no name, no return address, no capitalization, no nothing. It read, simply:

help me

I have a collection called "Messages from the universe" and that's where it went. I think I've been answering it, to the best of my abilities.

4. Murray says:

Hi Maria and good to hear from you.

You've reminded me of the collection that I have somewhere. It includes all the howlers that students have written in assignments and exams. Now, where did I put it...?

### Comment Preview

HTML: You can use simple tags like <b>, <a href="...">, etc.

To enter math, you can can either:

1. Use simple calculator-like input in the following format (surround your math in backticks, or qq on tablet or phone):
a^2 = sqrt(b^2 + c^2)
(See more on ASCIIMath syntax); or
2. Use simple LaTeX in the following format. Surround your math with $$ and $$.
$$\int g dx = \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}}$$
(This is standard simple LaTeX.)

NOTE: You can mix both types of math entry in your comment.

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