Why was Math Invented?
Date: 2/26/96 at 17:49:51 From: Anonymous Subject: question Dr. Math, Why was math invented? What about geometry?
Date: 3/5/96 at 10:58:17 From: Doctor Ethan Subject: Re: question These are great questions. There are lots of parts to math and for each part there is a different answer, but I will try to give you a few clues. One of the basic things that math does is to keep track of value. It looks at questions like how much or how many. It was probably to answer questions like this that math was first used. Let's say you have a bunch of potatoes and so do I, and we want to know how many potatoes we have together. At first we might just look and say, hey, it looks like you have a lot more than I do. However, eventually we might be more creative. We could lay out the potatoes next to each other. Mine * * * * * * Yours * * * * * * * * * Yep. Sure enough, you have more. Slowly, investigations like this could result in the use of numbers and other forms of math. So, math was mainly invented because it is a useful way to deal with the real world. What that means is that when math first started, word problems were all they had. Now on to geometry. Literally geometry means "to measure the earth." And that is just where it started. Let's say you were a farmer and there were two fields for sale for the same price. One was a triangle and one was a rectangle. It would be nice if there were a way to know which was bigger. Or, if you were a builder, you would want to figure out how to get a perfect square or a right angle every time. These are the kinds of questions that geometry can answer. Hope that this helps. -Doctor Ethan, The Math Forum
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