Albuquerque Homeschool Forum / Classes and camps / Mathematics in History Class in May
Posted by: Emily Mulder, April 4, 2013, 9:11pm
Did you know that the ancient Egyptians multiplied numbers without a multiplication table, using the same algorithm that digital computers use today? Greek school-children could construct a large variety of perfect geometric shapes using a compass and straight edge. The modern notational system we use for mathematics today is the result of a several thousand year epic struggle to understand relationships in the world around us, abstract out the universal nature of those relationships and use logic to reason about relationships in general. The introduction of new mathematical models and concepts at different points in history often revolutionized science and technology. Many concepts that we consider pedestrian today, such as zero and infinity were revolutionary developments at the time. The introduction of the decimal system made new ways of thinking possible.
The sad reality is that most adults have never studied any of this. Mathematics in K-12 is presented as a series of facts and techniques to be learned, rather than the result of an epic struggle that is still ongoing. There is a huge disconnect between what most people think mathematicians must do, and what they actual pursue.
We are starting a new class for children whose parents want them to see the bigger picture and experience mathematics in a new way. This four week class is the first stage in the development of an experimental curriculum. At this stage it is appropriate as a supplement to a regular math curriculum. Each week we will study a period of history and some of the interesting mathematical developments and techniques from that period. Although many of the concepts presented are not typically covered until later stages of education, they will be presented in a context and with clear explanations that should make them accessible to 3rd-6th graders. This first class will focus on the ancient period primarily covering the mathematics of the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Greeks.
We will meet the month of May, for 2 hours/week on Thursday afternoons from 1-3PM, in SE Albuquerque. We are in the process of procuring a location. The cost will be $50 for the initial 4 week run. It is our intent to continue offering additional courses after this first trial.
Prerequisites - Students should be comfortable reading and with basic arithmetic through long division. Some exposure to fractions is helpful but not required. Advanced younger students who meet these requirements are welcome. We need at least 10 signed up to offer the course.
About the instructor - Samuel has a PhD in Computer Science with numerous publications. In undergraduate school, he minored in history, and mathematics and continued taking graduate level courses in both throughout his education. Samuel has served as an adjunct faculty for Drury University teaching several courses at the undergraduate level. For the last 9 years, Samuel has been on staff at Sandia National Laboratories, but recently switched to a part-time schedule to pursue K-12 curriculum development. In addition to working with his wife Emily to homeschool their four children, Samuel has also offered classes to local homeschool students in computer science. You can read more about our philosophy of education on our blog: http://www.educationreimagined.org
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are definitely or might be interested so that we can gauge interest and work out the logistical details. If you are interested in the concept but that time doesn't work for you, please let us know and we may consider adjusting or a second offering.