Month: November 2014

Statistics: why the median might sometimes be preferred over the mean

Tutoring statistics, you talk about the median vs the mean.  While the mean is probably used more (because of its involvement in the normal distribution), the median is preferred in some applications…. Back in my May 6 post, I briefly

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Perl: a program to find the median

Tutoring stats, you discuss the median.  The tutor introduces a Perl program that finds it. I defined the median back in my May 6 post. It’s preferred over the mean in some realms; I’ll explore the reason another time. Today,

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Canadian history: how French rights prevailed in Quebec after 1763

Tutoring social studies, questions come to mind that aren’t necessarily discussed every day.  The tutor focuses on a central question about the Canadian identity. To a Canadian anglophone, the “other world” of Quebec is intriguing.  Anyone who’s been there knows

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Linear algebra: more on determinants

Following up on yesterday’s post, the tutor continues about determinants. Tutoring university math or natural sciences, they come up often. Yesterday’s post covered some basics about determinants including a 2×2 and a 3×3 example.  Although it revealed the necessities for

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Linear algebra: how to evaluate a determinant

Tutoring college math, you cover determinants.  They are used in calculus, differential equations, and physics – just to name a few contexts.  However, they belong to linear algebra.  The tutor works a couple of examples. The determinant is a number

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Calculus: how to use the product rule

Tutoring calculus, this might be the first derivative rule you need to emphasize. The tutor opens up the discussion…. The product rule is not the first derivative rule people learn, but it might be the first non-intuitive one.  The other

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Math: simplifying a fifth root

Tutoring high school math, radicals are prominent.  The tutor offers an example of simplifying a higher radical. I’ve written a number of articles on simplifying radicals. I won’t encumber this one with a list of the previous ones, but you

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Electronics: how a transistor works

Tutoring science, you are naturally interested in technology.  The tutor begins an exploration of electronics. A transistor is a device that can be used to control current flow.  Perhaps its most recognizable application is in amplifier circuits.  In that context,

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Calculus: Finding the derivative with the CASIO fx-991ES

With exams looming, people might come to tutoring with questions about their calculators:  What does it do (besides the obvious)?  How can it really help me? The tutor offers a handy hint about the CASIO fx-991ES. Some exams don’t allow

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Perl: getting input from the user with STDIN

Tutoring, you often straddle a couple of generations.  The tutor reaches back to an old programming tradition…. When I was a kid in the early 80s, computers were very new to have around.  To make them more appealing to the

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