# Language

## A trio of math limericks

Inspired by Math with Bad Drawings, here a trio of my own limerick creations: Two circles surrounding a square Was more than the poor thing could bear. It made itself fetal ‘Til planar was hedral. Cylindrical nets are a snare!…

## What is Multiplication, Anyway?

Yet again, the internet has seized upon an elementary student’s math homework and has decided to argue about Common Core. This time, it’s about a test question. The student was asked to “Use the repeated addition strategy to solve :…

## Types of Numbers

Elementary school students spend most of their time working with counting numbers, that is, the non-negative integers. As students progress through secondary school, they work increasingly with non-integers, eventually entering the complex number plane. However, many of them maintain the…

## Milne: “Are” vs “Is”

I noted in an earlier post that in 1893, Milne used “are” as a casual speech reading of the equality sign, rather than the “is” that I’m used to. Adam Liss notes that “are” is also used in Danny Kaye’s…

## The Haves and the Have-Gots

This is a post on language and linguistics, one of my other passions. This is also largely an educated riff; there has been a lot written on this subject, and I do not profess to higher mastery than what comes…

## Milne on Using “And”

At a used bookstore today, I picked up the 1893 text Elements of Arithmetic: For Primary and Intermediate Classes in Public and Private Schools by Dr. William J. Milne. One thing that I noticed was that he is adamant that “and”…

## Spelling and Math

Last night, as part of our learning-play, I asked my five-year-old son how to spell “night”. He told me “nitk”. That got me thinking about math education. English spelling is notorious for its quirks and oddities. In the case of…

## Radicals and Mixed Numbers

The lesser known of two math memes currently wandering around the Internet involves an interesting equation: $\sqrt{2\frac{2}{3}} = 2\sqrt{\frac{2}{3}}$ This has spawned at least three discussions I’ve seen so far: What other values is this equation true for? Is this…

## Forms of the Quadratic: Terminology

Because mathematical terminology developed piecemeal over time, there are many inconsistencies which prove to be a challenge to students. One of the more obvious examples is what is called the “standard form” of the quadratic. A quadratic equation has three…

## MEYL: Q. 1194

This is my translation of Meyl’s 1878 proof that a triangular pyramid of balls will only have a square number of balls if the base side is two or forty-eight. “Solutions to questions posed in The New Annals: Question 1194.”…

## Lucas: Q. 1180

This is my translation of Lucas’s 1877 proof that a square pyramid of balls will only have a square number of balls if the base side is twenty-four. “Solutions to questions posed in The New Annals: Question 1180.” M. Édouard…

## Gerono: Q. 1177

This is my translation of Gerono’s 1877 proof listing all the possible solutions (x, y) for the equation $$y^2 = x^3 + x^2 + x + 1$$. “Solutions to questions posed in The New Annals: Question 1177.” MM. Gerono, Nouvelles…