Math Through History

TEACHERS, PARENTS AND OTHER CAREGIVERS: These resources are designed to facilitate you in cultivating curiosity and designing various types of inquiry experiences for your learners. Be sure to carefully screen all materials for age appropriateness and conformation to your district’s regulatory screening processes (curriculum, privacy, ect.).

STUDENTS: Although some of these resources will be appropriate for your curiosity and learning, they have been placed here for use by adults. Please check with an adult before accessing or signing up for any resource listed on this page or on the website in general.

Questions to Ask:

  • What is Math?
  • Is Math a human invention?
  • How old is Math?
  • Do all people use Math?
  • Where does math live in the (daily life, art, architecture, systems, etc.) of the people?
  • How do people (count/record data/calculate, etc.)?
  • What math tools do people use?
  • Where do our numbers come from?
  • Who invented zero?

Blogs and Websites:

  • The SD36 Aboriginal Resources For Teachers site has pages for both Elementary and Secondary connections to Indigenous Math in British Columbia and other parts of Canada and USA. There are also many cross curricular connections on other pages of the website.
  • Artful Maths has some great lessons for sparking curiosity about mathematical processes in art. Some come with a presentation that includes historical information such as mazes and labyrinths, origami, Celtic Knot-work and Islamic Geometry.
  • Yummy Math has a library of activities that could be used to supplement and enrich learning in inquiry projects. Topics in this area include Pythagorean Theory, Holidays and Traditions, Pascal’s Triangle (A famous fractal) and Fibonacci.
  • Mathigon presents Mathematics in a way that honours it’s history and connection to our world. Their philosophy includes the importance of narrative connections to build a more holistic understanding of the world of Mathematics. Start with their timeline and then explore the other activities on the site.
  • Numberphile is a great site for anyone with Mathematical curiosity. Containing videos about everything from the simple to the obscure, there is lots to explore. There is also a Youtube channel and a podcast.

Mathematical Inquiries and information with connections to Mathematical History and civilizations:

NRich: NRich has a wealth of interactive activities and informative articles that can be used to build and supplement Mathematical inquiry and exploration. Below is a sampling that fits this page’s theme. Take some time to explore.
Mashup Math: 11 Famous African American Mathematicians You Should Know About
Math Equals Love: Tombstone Project Here is a blog about a project that has potential as a cumulative product for inquiries into important (and maybe not necessarily famous) mathematicians from history.
Arbitrarily Close:
  • The Mathematician Project: An inquiry to dig beyond the “dead white guy” history of mathematicians.
  • #mathartchallenge: a collection of projects that connect Math and Art. Great for supplementing inquiry into everything from Islamic Geometry to Quilts and the Underground Railroad.

Don’t forget to check out the general inquiry resources on the Numeracy Connections and Inquiry Page. Here you will find resources to facilitate any inquiry.

You may also be interested in the resources on the Ethnomathematics page.