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The Mathematical Puzzles of Benjamin Banneker

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Author:John F. Mahoney
Description: "I am able to reproduce, for the first time, three of Banneker's puzzles in his actual handwriting...." See those and more challenging colonial-era problems recovered by Mahoney, who teaches AP Statistics at a Washington, DC, high school named in honor of Banneker. A self-taught son of a former slave, Banneker penned his puzzles in rhyming verse, and solved them without invoking symbolic algebra. See also the overview of Banneker's command of "double position" and "false position" arithmetic, methods first used by the Egyptians to reckon, count, and measure, and which remained common through the 18th century, when Banneker lived. With references and a suggestion for how to use Banneker's puzzles in your classroom.

Levels: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Languages: English
Resource Types: Word Problems
Math Topics: Basic Algebra, Arithmetic/Early Math, Communicating Math, History and Biography

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