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The IntMath Newsletter - August 2007

By Murray Bourne, 16 Aug 2007

In this newsletter:
1. This month's math tips
2. What's new
3. Latest Poll
4. From the math blog


Have you written down your math goals for tomorrow? How about for next week? For the coming semester? Does goal-setting work for you?

Someone once said: "Nobody plans to fail, but many fail to plan."

This is certainly true when it comes to success in mathematics.

Let's consider time management. One of the things I hear all the time from students is "I would have done a better job if I had more time." But when I probe a bit further, the student always admits there was plenty of time to complete the assignment, it's just that they left it to the last minute.

Goal setting definitely increases achievement. Think of elite athletes and other sports heroes. Without clear goals and new challenges to overcome, they would never reach their potential. Goal setting helps you to focus on what's needed and it leads to much better time management.

Your math goal for tomorrow could be: "I will read over tomorrow's math lesson tonight, so I have a better idea of what we are going to do in class tomorrow." [This makes tomorrow's lesson more time-efficient.]

Next week's goal could be: "Create a study diary for the rest of the semester." [This makes the whole semester more focused - and enjoyable. Even better if you stick to your plan ^_^]

The goal for 2008 could be: "Increase my math achievement by one letter grade each semester." [You can do it!]

Taking some time now to plan and to think through where you are going with math is definitely worth it.

Many of you are going back to school in the next few weeks. I wish you all the best with your plans for math success!


a. IntMath Newsletters Archive

All of the previous newsletters can now be found at IntMath Newsletters

b. Response to Forum Suggestion (last month's newsletter)

Last month I suggested that we have an IntMath Forum so everyone can benefit from discussion about homework problems. The following concerns were raised by those who responded:

(1) Other math problem-solving forums exist, why create another one?

(2) Is it going to be paid, or free?

(3) Will students abuse the forum by getting the instructors to do all the work?

(4) Many find that typing mathematics in a forum is difficult - especially fractions, Greek symbols and so on.

(5) Would it be private (to those who subscribe) or open to the world?

At this stage, I will leave it open for discussion. If enough of you feel that a forum would be worthwhile, I will go ahead. Please reply to this newsletter if you feel that a forum would be worthwhile.

c. August Math

Did you know that in the USA, the month of August (among other things) is:

# National Inventors Month (find me an invention that does NOT involve mathematics)

# Home Business Month (goal setting is important here - and money math, too)

# National Water Quality Month (a world-wide issue, and becoming more so. Differential equations are important in water quality calculations).

And even...
# Foot Health Month (applied math is important here - think force, mass, acceleration. Forget those high heels..!)


Last month's poll asked: "For you, what is the best time of the day to study mathematics?"

The poll results are in and 1000 of you voted. The conclusion is something I always knew as a math instructor - students don't like afternoon math classes!

See the Poll Results.

The current poll asks about the music you like to listen to while doing maths. If you haven't already, add your vote on any page on the site:


Baseball bats provide us with a plethora of interesting mathematics applications.

A recent survey regarding educational technology reveals some interesting findings.

MS Math 3.0 is a well-designed computer-based math tool.

Word frequency follows the Zipf Distribution. We use log-log graphs to display the information. There are applications in many fields, including web page popularity.

Enjoy reading.

See the 1 Comment below.

One Comment on “The IntMath Newsletter - August 2007”

  1. Li-sa says:

    The one who said "Nobody plans to fail..." was you in Ten Ways to SUrvive the Math Blues. Yet the axiom "Failing to plan is planning to fail" was by Alan Lakein, a very successful businessman.

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