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Adventure of the American Mind Arithmetic to Mathematics: A Look Back Adventure of the American Mind
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Arithmetic to Mathematics: A Look Back

  Let's take a trip back in time; a time when the science of numbers was called arithmetic, which focused on computation and geometry. If you saw pages from an arithmetic textbook, would you recognize it? Would it make sense to you today? Do you think you could do the work required of students back then?

Let's find out. Let's take a look at some examples of arithmetic lessons from the 1800's and early 1900's to see if mathematics has really changed since that time. Furthermore, can the types of lessons we find from the past help us to increase our understanding of mathematics today?

After you look at the websites which are linked to this unit, see if you can answer these questions. Discuss your answers with your classmates. Keep these questions in mind as you explore the activities in this unit. Record your answers in a journal as you go along. Then return to these questions again at the end.

1. How is arithmetic different from mathematics? What areas of mathematics were not included in arithmetic? Why?

2. What do you think the purpose of learning arithmetic was?

3. What kinds of jobs did arithmetic prepare students for?

4. What kinds of jobs will mathematics prepare you for?

 

 

Teachers click here to begin your part.

Students click here to move ahead.

 

 

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Dr. John Meyer (DrMath@aol.com)
Website: http://www.govst.edu/coe/t_coe_faculty.asp?id=1172
GSU email: j-meyer@govst.edu
Last Updated on May 3, 2005