Vol 17, No 2 (2019)

Published March 24, 2020



Simple Variations on The Tower of Hanoi: A Study of Recurrences and Proofs by Induction

The Tower of Hanoi problem was formulated in 1883 by mathematician Edouard Lucas. For over a century, this problem has become familiar to many of us in disciplines such as computer programming, algorithms, and discrete mathematics. Several variations to Lucas' original problem exist today, and interestingly some remain unsolved and continue to ...ignite research questions. Nevertheless, simple variations can still lead to interesting recurrences, which in turn are associated with exemplary proofs by induction. We explore this richness of the Tower of Hanoi beyond its classical setting to compliment the study of recurrences and proofs by induction, and clarify their pitfalls. Both topics are essential components of any typical introduction to algorithms or discrete mathematics.

Subject Classification: A20, C30, D40, D50, E50, M10, N70, P20, Q30, R20

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Entwicklung eines Messinstruments zu den Grunderfahrungen des Informatikunterrichts

The three basic experiences of computer science education (GI) take into account the personal perceptions and attitudes of students to computer science education. The aim of this study is to develop an inventory to capture these learners' perceptions and perspectives in order to select content or to track learners' development in relation to co...mputer science. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA), partial least square analysis (PLS) and con rmatory factoranalysis (CFA) was used in this study to generate and select items and establish reliability and validity.

Subject Classification: Q20, Q50

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Interdisciplinary Secondary-School Workshop: Physics and Statistics

The paper describes a teaching unit of four hours with talented students aged 15-18. The workshop was designed as a problem-based sequence of tasks and was intended to deal with judging dice whether they are regular or loaded. We first introduced the students to the physics of free rotations of rigid bodies to develop the physics background of ...rolling dice. The highlight of this part was to recognise that cubes made from homogeneous material are the optimal form for six-sided objects leading to equal probabilities of the single faces. Experiments with all five regular bodies would lead to similar results; nevertheless, in our experiments we focused on regular cubes. This reinsures that the participants have their own experience with the context. Then, we studied rolling dice from the probabilistic point of view and – step-by-step – by extending tasks and simulations, we introduced the idea of the chi-squared test interactively with the students. The physics and the statistics part of the paper are largely independent and can be also be read separately. The success of the statistics part is best described by the fact that the students recognised that in some cases of loaded dice, it is easier to detect that property and in other cases one would need many data to make a decision with small error probabilities. A physical examination of the dice under inspection can lead to a quick and correct decision. Yet, such a physical check may fail for some reason. However, a statistical test will always lead to reasonable decision, but may require a large database. Furthermore, especially for smaller datasets, balancing the risk of different types of errors remains a key issue, which is a characteristic feature of statistical testing.

Subject Classification: F90, K90, M50, R30

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Capturing how students' abilities and teaching experiences affect teachers' beliefs about mathematics teaching and learning

We developed an instrument to investigate the effect of students' abilities and teaching experiences on teachers' beliefs about teaching and learning of mathematics. In this pilot study, we used the instrument to measure the beliefs of 43 Indonesian math teachers and five additional teachers. Then, for further investigation, we interviewed thos...e five additional teachers. Results from the 43 teachers' responses to the instrument show that in contrast to teachers with less than five years of teaching, teachers with more than five years elicit significantly different beliefs about mathematics teaching and learning in different contexts related to students' abilities. Teachers' reports in the further investigation indicate that teaching experiences with high and low ability students in teaching mathematics could be a possible explanation of this contrast.

Subject Classification: C20

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Programming Theorems and Their Applications

One of the effective methodological approaches in programming that supports the design and development of reliable software is analogy-based programming. Within this framework, the method of problem reduction plays a key role. Reducing a given problem to another one whose solving algorithm is already known can be made more efficient by the appl...ication of programming theorems. These represent proven, abstract solutions – in a general form – to some of the most common problems in programming. In this article, we present six fundamental programming theorems as well as pose five sample problems. In solving these problems, all six programming theorems will be applied. In the process of reduction, we will employ a concise specification language. Programming theorems and solutions to the problems will be given using the structogram form. However, we will use pseudocodes as descriptions of algorithms resembling their actual implementation in Python. A functional style solution to one of the problems will also be presented, which is to illustrate that for the implementation in Python, it is sufficient to give the specification of the problem for the design of the solution. The content of the article essentially corresponds to that of the introductory lectures of a course we offered to students enrolled in the Applied Mathematics specialization.

Subject Classification: D40

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Report of Meeting Researches in Didactics of Mathematics and Computer Sciences: January 24-26, 2020 Sárospatak, Hungary

The meeting Researches in Didactics of Mathematics and Computer Sciences was held in Sárospatak, Hungary, on the Comenius Campus of the Eszterházy Károly University, from the 24th to the 26th of February, 2020. It was organized by the Doctoral School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences of University of Debrecen and the Eszterházy Ká...roly University. The 76 participants – including 15 PhD students – came from 9 countries, 23 cities and represented 33 institutions of higher and secondary education. There were 4 plenary, 48 session talks and 4 poster presentations in the program.

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