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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Project Time

I know that I have to get my students out of their math textbooks at times and applying math in other areas. 

I also know that math is not some monolithic category thrown down on the earth, but rather, it is an exquisite expression of human culture.

I have my 7th graders investigate important historical figures who have contributed to humanitie's understanding of math.

I call the project: On the Shoulders of Giants, after a quote from Isaac Newton stating this if he had accomplished anything in his life, it was because he was standing on the shoulders of the giants who preceded him.

Mathematicians and scientists are people too! Did you know that Sir 

Isaac Newton was inspired to study mathematics after a fight with a school 

bully? Leonard Euler wrote more mathematics than anyone - even after he 

became totally blind! Great mathematical innovations were made by real 

people who experienced the same misunderstandings and frustrations that 

we all do when learning a new concept. The purpose of this activity is for 

you to research a person who made a math discovery happen. 

You will be assigned a name of a famous and influential mathematician. 

You will do a small research project on the life of this mathematician and his 

or her contribution to the development of modern mathematics. 

You will then make a cube out of sturdy material. Each edge needs to 

measure 5 inches. The faces of the cube will have the following information: 

1. Portrait, name of mathematician, and birth/death dates. 

2. Map of continent and marks where he/she lived. 

3. Biographical Sketch (4-7 sentences) 

a. Who was this mathematician? 

b. When did he/she live? 

c. What cultural background? 

4. What contribution to math did this person make? Give an example 

of how this contribution is used.  (5-10 sentences) 

5. Where and how was this person educated? (3-6 sentences) 

6. Trivia fact OR interesting fact

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