Math: Latex copy paste doesn't always work

After quite some Googling I couldn’t find an answer to this question anywhere, so let’s try here. I’m trying to use Latex to enter the following math expression:
The calculator provided by the question editor doesn’t feature the possibility to enter a matrix like this, so I tried copy pasting Latex, but the editor doesn’t seem to accept that either. In the Formative Library I found a Formative called Matrix Basics (by Scott Blevins) that does seem to contain matrices in Latex format (the last couple of questions). Does anyone know how to achieve this?

Can you cut and paste as an image?

Yes, but that’s the less ideal solution. A reason for me to explore GoFormative was the possibility to enter math expressions. If it’s only possible to show this formula by means of an image then I could just as well use another platform like Socrative.
Also GoFormative does a couple of weird things with resizing the image, causing the font size to be completely different in the formula than in the rest of the question.

Yes, less than idea, but a work around. I had to use EquatiO to make an arc symbol for the problem below. Sometimes I write it out in Kami and copy and paste it in. They have the segment notation but not a line or ray notation. I don’t use Socrative.

Hi @s.faas! :wave:

I called in the expertise of @nicholas_hershman here. :slightly_smiling_face: He uses Latex a lot in his formatives, and they are awesome!

The answer is that yes, you can use Latex to create matrices in Formative! Here’s an example:

Here are a couple of other resources that should help:

Big shout out to @nicholas_hershman for his help with this! :grinning:

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Hey Rebecca,

Wow, you and Nicholas Hershman made my day! I was struggling with this Latex code in the numeric code editor, but thanks to your post I found the option to type the code just like normal text in one line, select it, hover above it and select Latex code. This is great! Thank you so much :star_struck:


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This was very helpful to see a such a great variety of Latex examples. Thank you Rebecca @rebecca and Nick @nicholas_hershman!

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Glad it was helpful! If you are familiar with LaTeX it can be confusing to work in the editor without knowing details about the LaTeX environment. Since my latex templates for math documents always included \usepackage{amsmath} and \usepackage{amssymb} in the preamble I was confused when I couldn’t use \begin{align*} to open an environment for a multi-line equation. But knowing that KaTeX had helpful documentation and was the tool used by Formative made it much easier to envision and write LaTeX that would render as desired in Formative. Thanks to @rebecca for pointing me in the right direction!

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@s.faas it looks like you found the answer for this, but just for completeness I’ll leave an answer here

\vec{a} = \begin{pmatrix} 2 \\ 1 \end{pmatrix}

produces the result desired in this original question. Here’s a screenshot from formative

Screen Shot 2020-04-08 at 4.04.24 PM

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@erin-rose.schneider for the arc notation use \widehat{ABC} or \overgroup{ABC}. For example to complete the expression you began in your formative, we could write: m\overgroup(XW) = (4x + 1)^\circ so m\overgroup{XW} = 149^{\circ}

Screenshot from formative

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Thanks. That helps me when writing questions, but I guess I was hoping it would be an option in the equation editor for students to answer with appropriate geometric notation. This is too much for them.

Is that what the students are going to see? That will confuse them. Is there any way to have them just see see: image? What did I do wrong?

When you type latex you have to highlight the text and then in the context menu that appears select LaTeX. After clicking this the part you highlighted will appear with a blue highlight (will not show in the student view) and the rendered expression highlighted in yellow-ish(?) is what the student sees.

You didn’t do anything wrong - just check what the question looks like using the eyeball student preview. Also, FWIW I totally agree with you that writing answers using LaTeX is not something that students should have to do. I have seen some teachers showing students the code to use to generate the right output but I would think the simpler path is to ask them to answer using prose… like “the measure of arc XW is 149 degrees” or just asking What is m\overgroup{XW} (in degrees)? and accepting 149 as a correct answer.