Do not ask me how to pronounce LaTex, but as a math teacher it is a useful thing to know! In a nutshell LaTex let’s you put pretty print math symbols on the web. If you need fractions and square roots it can be very helpful to know just a little LaTex. Most websites will not recognize LaTex so try it out and see where you can use it. One reason I use www.quia.com is that I can use LaTex and HTML when I write questions. You can also use LaTex in Google Docs equation editor, but I find it easier to just use the equation editor templates.

This is just a quick intro to LaTex. You can find more expressions and tutorials on the web once you get these down. Check out http://mathx.co/ to type pretty print math expressions, but to also copy the LaTex code.

# <latex>$$</latex>

The first thing I do is type <latex>$$</latex> when I am entering latex into Quia. Some Web 2.0 tools that accept LaTex do not need the <latex> </latex> and only require that you flank the equations with dollar signs. Other tools, like Google Docs equation editor, only need the LaTex expressions without the dollar signs. I find it helpful to type the end tag of </latex> (when it is required) before I type the LaTex expressions so that I do not accidentally forget it.

I also always type the beginning and ending curly brace before I type the values within the curly brace. This is especially helpful when you are nesting expressions. So I will type \sqrt{} and then fill in the radicand \sqrt{7} after I typed the generic expression.

# Backslash Forward Slash

In HTML the end tags have a forward slash </latex>. In LaTex the expressions use the backslash \frac{}. When your LaTex is not rendering properly, double check that your slashes are going the right way.

# Fraction

## \frac{}{}

Relatively intuitive is that the LaTex expression for creating a fraction is \frac{}{}. The curly braces contain the values for the numerator and the denominator. So if I want to type a fraction of two-thirds I would type:

<latex>$\frac{2}{3}$</latex>

# Square Root

## \sqrt{} or \sqrt[n]{}

Equally intuitive is the LaTex expression for creating a square root. Type \sqrt{} with the radicand in the curly braces. If you want the nth root you can place that value in square brackets before the curly braces. So the cube root of 7 would look like:

<latex>$\sqrt[3]{7}$</latex>

# Quadratic Formula

I find I demonstrate the quadratic formula a lot for how to use LaTex so here is how you would type that:

<latex>$x=\frac{-b \pm \sqrt{b^2-4ac}}{2a}$</latex>

You can find the math symbols for things like the plus or minus on several websites. I usually do a search for LaTex math symbols and leave the tab open while I am working with LaTex.

# Try It Out

Hopefully this is enough to get you started. I find that most of the time I need fractions and square roots in my math problems. The other expressions and symbols I just look them up as I need them. So memorize those two and you’re pretty much good to go!

### Sample Quia Activities

I created these activities a long time ago. Notice that some of the questions contain fractions, square roots and other math symbols which required LaTex.

Complete the Square Millionaire

## 1 thought on “Math Teachers: Alice’s Guide to LaTex”

LaTex is also useful for g(Math) Add-on for Google Docs and Sheets, FYI…