It has been too long since I last blogged, but I am entering a new chapter in my learning. I am looking forward to discovering more about the history of math through an exciting capstone course!
Now you are probably thinking hold up, the history of mathematics how can that be fascinating? Why does it matter what math is and where it came from I just need it to balance my checkbook or figure out how much change I should be receiving for my 20 dollar bill.
Personally, I love history! My opinions aside, mathematics history is valuable to give people a base for understanding the importance of the beginning of various mathematical operations, concepts, and theories. I believe that mathematics history is crucial to finding meaning in mathematical learning. That is the real reason I am so excited to learn more about math history.
I currently do not know much about the history of mathematics, but from what I do know in my prior knowledge five of the most incredible discoveries in mathematics history in no particular order were…
The Ability to count
The Pythagorean theorem- vital to building structures and keeping right angles.
The discovery of Algebra by Al Khwarizmi(spelling may be questionable)- key to abstract reasoning in mathematics and simplifying complex problems and challenges.
The Nine Point Circle (By Euler)
The calculation of ballistics(long shot)
Clearly there are hundreds more discoveries that I have not listed and my list is very meager, but these discoveries are important. Understanding why something was discovered adds a significant amount of value to a topic. If your educational experience was like mine you remember growing up asking why do we need to learn this Alg-ee-bra? The history of mathematics has a ton to say about the answer to questions like this!
The history of mathematics is important, yes, but what is math? Is it counting, coming up with theories about numbers? Defining math is complicated, so when I say Math I mean the study of patterns in the world and in our minds and how they connect to each other. Math is utilized for a variety of reasons, but the study of patterns in order to apply models to patterns in the world around us is central to my definition of math. As a future teacher I need to continue to develop my conviction on the definition and importance of mathematics, and be flexible to learn more from others throughout my career!
If you want to think further with me consider what it means to have a degree in mathematics? The diagram below could kick start your discussion or thoughts!