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Fractions, Cycles, and Time

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)
Description: In ancient times, people had to confront awkward numbers in astronomical contexts when they compared the motions of the sun and moon. The unfailing, daily passages of the sun across the sky and the corresponding movements of the stars at night represented one highly predictable cycle. The periodic changes in the moon's appearance and position represented another cycle. Closer observations over months and years revealed subtle shifts in these patterns... The ancients didn't use decimals, but they could represent these cycles with remarkable precision by considering ratios.

Levels: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Terms/Units of Measure, Ratio/Proportion, History and Biography, Probability, Engineering

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