Historical Aspects of Classroom Mathematics

Credits 6 credit points
Instructors Wepster, Steven (Universiteit Utrecht)
E-mail S.A.Wepster@uu.nl

After the course, students have a general knowledge of the history of the usual topics of highschool mathematics. Students are familiar with different ways to incorporate history in mathematics education and can identify  pros and cons of using history in mathematics education. Students are able to find and use both primary and secondary sources. Students can design an  activity that incorporates historical components for the learning of mathematics.


This course fits well in a Science & Education Master programme. However, this is NOT a general introduction into the history of mathematics. Participants investigate the emergence and the historical context of a number of subjects that populate modern highschool courses, such as: classical geometry, conics (synthetic as well as analytical), algebraical notations, early developments towards the calculus, the emergence of the function concept. Development of (Dutch) math education until the 19th century. Extra topics varying from year to year, e.g., higher dimensional geometry, emergence of abstract algebra, spherical trigonometry.

A significant part of the course consists of excercises and
assignments which have to be finished at home. At the end of the course, students write a paper on a research assignment.
We will also discuss journal papers on the use of history of
mathematics in the classroom. Every week, a team of students willpresent an introduction to an assigned paper, while another team will be charged with the task to challenge the views expressed in the paper.

Examination 25% group discussions and presentations,
25% homework excercises,
50% final research assignment
Literature Students are required to have read a general introduction in the History of Mathematics before the beginning of the course. (such as Struik, Kline, Grattan-Guinness, Boyer, etc).
A reader will  be made available during the course for small
fee (about 10 euros).
Prerequisites Some general knowledge of the history of mathematics;
mathematics at Bachelor level.

Credits can only be awarded to participants who have:
1. attended all but at most two classes,
2. performed sufficiently on all excercises and assignments,
3. have actively participated in the discussions.

See http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~wepst101 for more information.

  Last changed: 09-04-2014 16:35