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Resources and Advice on Math IA and EE


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I graduated IB in 2018 and studied Math HL with discrete math as my option. I also wrote my EE in mathematics / physics and received an A. I'm currently studying programming / computer science and game design. I replied to a post a few years ago about writing Math IAs where I gave some advice and talked about my paper and a lot of people requested copies of my IA for reference. I've heard that with the covid situation and online learning a lot of people are facing some challenges with their research and are doing explorations based on previous students' work etc.

With that in mind I thought I would make a post offering to share some of my resources and advice based on personal experience.

Writing your EE in math is usually discouraged and can be challenging but I personally thought it was very fun since I find math very interesting. I think that if you really like math you shouldn't be afraid to write your EE in math. You should however be careful and make sure you know what you're doing and not be afraid to ask for help.

I wrote my Math IA on celestial navigation using angles with the research question "How can celestial navigation be mathematically modeled to find one’s location on Earth when time and the position of celestial bodies are known?". I'm not sure what my final grade was but the mathematics seems fine and was mainly focused around trigonometry, and vectors with some simultaneous equations.

My EE is about mathematically modeling multiple combined electric fields in a space: "How can the electromagnetic flux density at a point in space with multiple superposing electric fields from point charges 
be modeled mathematically?". The mathematics I used was mainly vectors and summation, calculus (simplified), geometry, and basic electromagnetic equations in 2D. Solving math problems can be easy but writing an essay where you discuss the results and draw conclusions tends to be somewhat difficult.

If anyone is interested in these topics or has any questions about the Math IA or EE I'll be glad to help. If anyone is having trouble choosing a topic I would also be glad to give advice regarding that as well. Due to the file sizes I unfortunately can't post my papers here but if you DM me with a request I will e-mail you a copy of my paper(s).

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On 11/27/2021 at 11:27 AM, Kaito said:

I graduated IB in 2018 and studied Math HL with discrete math as my option. I also wrote my EE in mathematics / physics and received an A. I'm currently studying programming / computer science and game design. I replied to a post a few years ago about writing Math IAs where I gave some advice and talked about my paper and a lot of people requested copies of my IA for reference. I've heard that with the covid situation and online learning a lot of people are facing some challenges with their research and are doing explorations based on previous students' work etc.

With that in mind I thought I would make a post offering to share some of my resources and advice based on personal experience.

Writing your EE in math is usually discouraged and can be challenging but I personally thought it was very fun since I find math very interesting. I think that if you really like math you shouldn't be afraid to write your EE in math. You should however be careful and make sure you know what you're doing and not be afraid to ask for help.

I wrote my Math IA on celestial navigation using angles with the research question "How can celestial navigation be mathematically modeled to find one’s location on Earth when time and the position of celestial bodies are known?". I'm not sure what my final grade was but the mathematics seems fine and was mainly focused around trigonometry, and vectors with some simultaneous equations.

My EE is about mathematically modeling multiple combined electric fields in a space: "How can the electromagnetic flux density at a point in space with multiple superposing electric fields from point charges 
be modeled mathematically?". The mathematics I used was mainly vectors and summation, calculus (simplified), geometry, and basic electromagnetic equations in 2D. Solving math problems can be easy but writing an essay where you discuss the results and draw conclusions tends to be somewhat difficult.

If anyone is interested in these topics or has any questions about the Math IA or EE I'll be glad to help. If anyone is having trouble choosing a topic I would also be glad to give advice regarding that as well. Due to the file sizes I unfortunately can't post my papers here but if you DM me with a request I will e-mail you a copy of my paper(s).

Interesting that you chose discrete maths as your option... but your EE seems to be quite heavily focused on multivariable calculus since it's E&M. I have no idea what to do for my IA lol, but hopefully I'll be able to find some inspiration.

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On 11/29/2021 at 2:07 PM, MathEEmoment said:

Interesting that you chose discrete maths as your option... but your EE seems to be quite heavily focused on multivariable calculus since it's E&M. I have no idea what to do for my IA lol, but hopefully I'll be able to find some inspiration.

Yeah, I would have personally chosen calculus given the choice but my school only offered discrete math. It was interesting, and it did help me understand math in a new light. However, I would not recommend taking it because it's pretty difficult since most prior knowledge of mathematics gets thrown out the window.

For your IA, I'd say just start by thinking about things that interest you and that might be related to math in some way. Alternatively, if you actually have a genuine question you're curious about you could research that topic.

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  • 3 months later...
Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Mar1ana said:

Hi! I am doing a Maths EE this year and need your help with the dosage of research required in an EE as it is different from the other EE's I believe. I also can't really understand the difference in exploration required between an IA and EE. I am planning on doing probability models research, specifically the Markov chain, and seeing  how it can be used to 'solve' the optimal stopping theory, using a stop or roll dice game as a specific example. The question as of right now is: How can the Markov Chain Monte Carlo method be used to find the optimal stopping point, and can it be applied to the stop or roll dice game Pickomino? Could you tell me if that sounds alright and could you please send me your EE as we both seem to be exploring models.

All the Best!

So basically, you don't really need to do much experimental research for an EE in mathematics unless you have a specific topic that can be tested in real life with experiments such as modeling the curvature of chains. You will probably only need theoretical research and to make sure to cite the sources you use.

Also the word requirement is kind of different, my word count was only 3366 for example and I got an A. I had a lot of diagrams and equations however, those are the important parts.

Personally I'm not that good with probability / statistics but it seems like a good topic. Your research question is very specific, which is good, and it sounds alright to me. For probability it might help to do an experiment if it's possible, but it's not really necessary if you can provide a good theoretical explanation / model.

I can't post my EE here but if you send me a message with your e-mail I can e-mail you a copy.

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On 3/20/2022 at 7:50 PM, Mar1ana said:

Wow, thanks for the speedy answer! Yeah, I was scared it may have been too specific, but I think it leaves a few doors open. I think I'll see once I get to actually doing the EE, whether the experiment is necessary, maybe I'll have plenty to write about. I was wondering where the maths came in though if you don't have an experiment. Are you explaining and showing the researched models from a different perspective/ differently or what? My email is [email protected]

Thank you

Sure I can send it and explain.

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On 11/27/2021 at 2:27 AM, Kaito said:

I graduated IB in 2018 and studied Math HL with discrete math as my option. I also wrote my EE in mathematics / physics and received an A. I'm currently studying programming / computer science and game design. I replied to a post a few years ago about writing Math IAs where I gave some advice and talked about my paper and a lot of people requested copies of my IA for reference. I've heard that with the covid situation and online learning a lot of people are facing some challenges with their research and are doing explorations based on previous students' work etc.

With that in mind I thought I would make a post offering to share some of my resources and advice based on personal experience.

Writing your EE in math is usually discouraged and can be challenging but I personally thought it was very fun since I find math very interesting. I think that if you really like math you shouldn't be afraid to write your EE in math. You should however be careful and make sure you know what you're doing and not be afraid to ask for help.

I wrote my Math IA on celestial navigation using angles with the research question "How can celestial navigation be mathematically modeled to find one’s location on Earth when time and the position of celestial bodies are known?". I'm not sure what my final grade was but the mathematics seems fine and was mainly focused around trigonometry, and vectors with some simultaneous equations.

My EE is about mathematically modeling multiple combined electric fields in a space: "How can the electromagnetic flux density at a point in space with multiple superposing electric fields from point charges 
be modeled mathematically?". The mathematics I used was mainly vectors and summation, calculus (simplified), geometry, and basic electromagnetic equations in 2D. Solving math problems can be easy but writing an essay where you discuss the results and draw conclusions tends to be somewhat difficult.

If anyone is interested in these topics or has any questions about the Math IA or EE I'll be glad to help. If anyone is having trouble choosing a topic I would also be glad to give advice regarding that as well. Due to the file sizes I unfortunately can't post my papers here but if you DM me with a request I will e-mail you a copy of my paper(s).

Hi! Sorry to bother, but I have many questions as regards Math EE. I'm currently doing Math AA HL, and was planning to do my extended essay about Maths, and I can't fully undestand it. I'm extremely passionate about mathematics, and wanted to do my extended essay on Number Theory in criptography, perhaps specifically the RSA Public Key Criptosystem. However, I still don't get if maths is considered a science, and if I have to do an experiment (get some raw data somehow and analyze it). If this is not the case, I don't understand how the EE would not be purely descriptive, like I'm learning a bunch of new things, but don't understand how to place it in an EE. I also want to know if it's better to do an experiment of some sort to get a higher mark (however, I'm not looking for a high one, I'm just interested in learning new things about maths).

In my school there is no supervisor that has experience with/corrected a Math EE, so I'm scared of getting an incorrect tutoring as to what the IB wants. I have reade the Math EE section in the guide many times, but still don't get what I'm expected to do. Also, could yo send me your EE and IA to my mail? 

[email protected]

I think my IA will be about fractals, and I have an idea of my RQ and the "experiment" overall, but the EE is just getting on my nerves ;)

Thanks beforehand! 

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18 hours ago, Santi123 said:

Hi! Sorry to bother, but I have many questions as regards Math EE. I'm currently doing Math AA HL, and was planning to do my extended essay about Maths, and I can't fully undestand it. I'm extremely passionate about mathematics, and wanted to do my extended essay on Number Theory in criptography, perhaps specifically the RSA Public Key Criptosystem. However, I still don't get if maths is considered a science, and if I have to do an experiment (get some raw data somehow and analyze it). If this is not the case, I don't understand how the EE would not be purely descriptive, like I'm learning a bunch of new things, but don't understand how to place it in an EE. I also want to know if it's better to do an experiment of some sort to get a higher mark (however, I'm not looking for a high one, I'm just interested in learning new things about maths).

In my school there is no supervisor that has experience with/corrected a Math EE, so I'm scared of getting an incorrect tutoring as to what the IB wants. I have reade the Math EE section in the guide many times, but still don't get what I'm expected to do. Also, could yo send me your EE and IA to my mail? 

[email protected]

I think my IA will be about fractals, and I have an idea of my RQ and the "experiment" overall, but the EE is just getting on my nerves ;)

Thanks beforehand! 

A Maths EE would not be experimental. You would not have to do an experiment for a maths EE. Unless, for example, your EE was on a physics-based topic for example. From my understanding, a good EE would be about solving a problem, or answering a mathematical question that can be answered within the scope of 4000 words.

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