MAA Convergence: Mathematics History for Your Classroom
MAA Convergence is both an online journal on the history of mathematics and its use in teaching and an ever-expanding collection of online resources to help its readers teach mathematics using its history. Founded in 2004 by Victor Katz and Frank Swetz and published by the Mathematical Association of America, Convergence brings you a variety of interesting articles and teaching tools.
We highlight here some of our newest articles and resources for use in your high school or college classroom.
"Trisecting an Angle Using Mechanical Means" is one of our many articles with interactive features. You and your students can use author Keith Dreiling's interactive applets to trisect angles using the methods of Hippias, Archimedes, and Nicomedes.
Above: Spiral of Archimedes for trisecting angles
In "The Mathematics of Levi ben Gershon in the Classroom," author Shai Simonson shares his translations of work by Levi (1288-1344) on the value of pi, calculating square roots, and a selection of word problems. Learn how you and your students can compute your personal estimates of pi!
In "Impacts of a Unique Course on the History of Mathematics in the Islamic World," author Nuh Aydin shares his motivation for developing such a course, its structure and content, its community service component, and its impacts on students, community members, and his own scholarship.
Above: From the title page of a 1648 manuscript of John Speidell's 1648 Spherical Trigonometry. See more in MAA Convergence's "Mathematical Treasures," where this image appears courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.
We continue our series of mini-Primary Source Projects (mini-PSPs) from the TRansforming Instruction in Undergraduate Mathematics via Primary Historical Sources (TRIUMPHS) team with two new projects:
. "Why be so Critical? Nineteenth Century Mathematics and the Origins of Analysis," by Janet Barnett, in which introductory analysis students read criticisms by Bolzano, Cauchy, Dedekind, and Abel that helped motivate the development of formal proof via precise inequalities in analysis. . "Connecting Connectedness," by Nicholas Scoville, in which introductory topology students see how mathematical ideas and definitions evolve over time by reading contributions to the concept and definition of connectedness from Cantor, Jordan, Schoenflies, and Lennes.
"The Totient Function" is the first article in a new series titled "Math Origins," in which Euler Archive Director Erik Tou answers the question, "How were concepts, definitions, tools, and theorems familiar to today's students of mathematics developed over time?" In this first installment, Tou explains how the totient function, also known as the Euler phi-function, was shaped by Euler, Gauss, and Sylvester.
Above: Proposal of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) for symbols for trigonometric functions (1861). From MAA Convergence's "Mathematical Treasures"
Our "Index to Mathematical Treasures" includes hundreds of images for use in your
classroom from dozens of libraries and sources.
See all of these articles and more at MAA Convergence: