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History of Mathematics With No Excuses

Consider Johnson's Theorem: Every math teacher should include topics from the history of mathematics when helping students both understand and appreciate mathematics. No proof needed...other than the ancient BEHOLD!

Now the excuses arise...I don't know the history of mathematics, I have no materials on the history of mathematics, our adopted text does not include the history of mathematics, I do not have time to include it at the expense of other more valuable mathematics (e.g. factoring complex trinomials). Rubbish to all of these excuses...

And to your rescue (as you need to obey a certified theorem!), I suggest using a creative website by Snezana Lawrence, created as a Gatsby Technical Education project. Presently, Lawrence is a mathematics teacher at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Nackington Road (Canterbury).

His website Maths Is Good For You has one focus--providing materials and resources for the teaching and learning of mathematics in a historical context. Though coordinated with the age 11-16 maths syllabus in England, the materials are appropriate for at students (and teachers) in grades 6-14.

On this website, you will find:

  • Math content coordinated with math topics
  • Descriptions of mathematicians who created mathematics appropriate at these grade levels
  • Historical timeline up to the year 2000
  • Historical topics (e.g. famous theorems, unsolved problems, Pythagoreans)
  • Historical artifacts (e.g. Napier's bones, artwork revealing advent of perspective)
  • Sample presentations (e.g. Fermat's Last Theorem)
  • Sample lessons and "starters"
  • Some humorous excuses for not doing math homework, based on a historical context)
Good website with useful materials...use them (i.e. obey Johnson's Theorem).