Math on Africa
Date: 01/03/97 at 19:19:35 From: Charles Napier Subject: Math on Africa We're doing an interdisciplinary unit on Africa. My part is to do something about math that would be educational as well as fun for the students. Please e-mail me a great answer. firstname.lastname@example.org Charlie Napier
Date: 01/04/97 at 01:25:49 From: Doctor Mike Subject: Re: Math on Africa Hello Mr. Napier, My ideas of what is interesting may be a bit far out, but here goes. 1. We now know that any flat map can be colored with 4 colors. Get an absolutely current map of Africa, and also a mid-century map of Africa where what's now Zaire was still the Belgian Congo, etc. See what different coloring strategies are needed to color these different maps with at most 4 colors (no 2 countries that touch at all can be colored with the same color). 2. Get a printed copy of Alex Haley's "Roots" and look at the part where the genealogy is traced back to Kunte Kinte by listening to the African "aural historian". Count the generations that passed, and figure out how many ancestors there must have been. 3. For something completely different, research applications of mathematics in ancient Egypt. There must be some interesting engineering applications for building the pyramids. Also, I've heard that because the Nile flooded each year, the farmers had to use some geometrical applications to survey boundaries that the floods washed away. 4. Find stamps from some African country that has existed throughout the 20th century (a Public Library might have Scott's Stamp collecting catalog) and find out what mailing a first class letter cost at different times during the century. Do this for the USA for comparison. Then graph the rate vs. the 19xx year to show a measure of inflation during the century. 5. Figure out what percent of the area of Africa is above/below the equator. Compare with South America. 6. List all the countries of Africa in order of area. List all the countries of Africa in order of populations. Do any countries occupy the same position on both list? I can't think of any others now, but this is a start. Good luck. -Doctor Mike, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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