Maths Journal Club

At the weekend I suggested the idea of a Twitter Maths Journal Club. MY intention is for this to run along similar lines to the fantastic Twitter Maths Book club (@MathsBookClub) (blog is here).

I have set up a twitter account specifically for this, so please follow @mathjournalclub to stay up to date.

The plan is as follows: every couple of months a journal article will be selected by a poll and we will then have a twitter discussion for an hour one evening, about a month or 3 weeks after the article has been selected. This will be on a day where there isn’t already some kind of mathschat or #mathsTLP taking place.

As a lot of academic articles are pay-wall protected our choice will be a little limited – so either articles that have open access for a particular journal issue, free to access articles or articles where there are high quality pre-prints available on the author’s website.

My intention is to allow people to suggest articles for the poll on the following month, but to get things started here are the articles on the first poll (together with their abstracts)

  • How Ordinary Elimination Became Gaussian Elimination; Joseph F Grcar – Newton, in notes that he would rather not have seen published, described a process for solving simultaneous equations that later authors applied specifically to linear equations. This method — that Euler did not recommend, that Legendre called “ordinary,” and that Gauss called “common” — is now named after Gauss: “Gaussian” elimination. Gauss’s name became associated with elimination through the adoption, by professional computers, of a specialized notation that Gauss devised for his own least squares calculations. The notation allowed elimination to be viewed as a sequence of arithmetic operations that were repeatedly optimized for hand computing and eventually were described by matrices.
  • Contrasts in Mathematical Challenges in A-Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics, and Undergraduate Examinations; Ellie Darlington (Teaching Mathematics and its Applications) – This article describes part of a study which investigated the role of questions in students’ approaches to learning mathematics at the secondary/tertiary interface, focussing on the enculturation of students at the University of Oxford. Use of the Mathematical Assessment Task Hierarchy taxonomy revealed A-level Mathematics and Further Mathematics questions in England and Wales to focus on requiring students to demon- strate a routine use of procedures, whereas those in first-year undergraduate mathematics primarily required students to be able to draw implications, conclusions and to justify their answers and make conjectures.While these findings confirm the need for reforms of examinations at this level, questions must also be raised over the nature of undergraduate mathematics assessment, since it is sometimes possible for students to be awarded a first- class examination mark solely through stating known facts or reproducing something verbatim from lecture notes.
  • A Glimpse into Secondary Students’ Understanding of Functions; Jonathan Brendefur, Gwyneth Hughes & Robert Eley (International Journal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning) – In this article we examine how secondary school students think about functional relationships. More specifically, we examined seven students’ intuitive knowledge in regards to representing two real-world situations with functions. We found students do not tend to represent functional relationships with coordinate graphs even though they are able to do so. Instead, these students tend to represent the physical characteristics of the situation. In addition, we discovered that middle- school students had sophisticated ideas of dependency and covariance. All the students were able to use their models of the situation to generalize and make predictions. These findings suggest that secondary students have the ability to describe covariant and dependent relations and that their models of functions tend to be more intuitive than mathematical – even for the students in algebra II and calculus. Our work suggests a possible framework that begins describing a way of analyzing students’ understanding of functions.
  • Bridging the Divide – Seeing Mathematics in the World Through Dynamic Geometry; Hatice Aydin & John Monaghan (Teaching Mathematics and it’s Application) – InTMA, Oldknow (2009,TEAMAT, 28,180-195) called forways to unlock students’ skills so that they increase learning about the world of mathematics and the objects in the world around them. This article examines one way in which we may unlock the student skills.We are currently exploring the potential for students to ‘see’ mathematics in the real world through ‘marking’ mathematical features of digital images using a dynamic geometry system (GeoGebra). In this article we present, as a partial response to Oldknow, preliminary results.
  • Using Geometric Images of Number to Teach Mental addition and Subtraction, Peter Lacey (Mathematics Teaching) – no abstract available.


It would be great if you would like to get involved, if you do please complete the Poll.

I really hope you want to get involved, I think it could be a great thing to do. Please suggest articles to include for future polls.

Update: Poll closes on 24th July

2 thoughts on “Maths Journal Club

  1. Hey, this is a great idea, Tom! Are you focusing on math-ed papers only or do you want to dive into something technical, even if it is expository? It’s a good away to learn about each others research.

    1. Hey Manan, I want it to be open to all so I’m thinking maths-ed,stud history, maths research, possibly maths aspects of computer science. If necessary we can split into strands. Would be great if you got involved, took part in the conversation and suggested papers etc.

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