Something that I have been meaning to write about for ages and seemed pertinent to today’s #mathscpdchat hosted by Rob Beckett (@RBeckett_Yd) is the idea of mathematical style.
I’m often saying to my A-Level students that mathematics isn’t just about succeeding at getting an answer. The steps to the answer are the most important along with being able to structure a mathematical argument that is stylish.
Style and mathematical elegance is of course subjective, but I am beginning to think style should be assessed in A-Level examinations. The proposed problem solving questions with multiple possible approaches would be ideal for this. I believe a comparative judgment on “the most mathematically elegant” approach would be a robust way of assessing this.
As an example, to me, for the below question the first approach is significantly more elegant than differentiating!