"Exploring the World of Mathematics" is a history of the development of mathematics with some instruction on how to do the various types of math worked in. (Chapters 5, 9, and 10 were more focused on math instruction than history.) The text was engaging and easy to understand. Much of the book was suitable for middle schoolers, though some chapters were more high school level. There were useful black and white charts and illustrations. At the end of each chapter, there were 10 questions--most tested if you learned the important points in the chapter, but some were math problems based on what was learned. The answers were in the back.
The book occasionally referred to things in the Bible, like explaining the cubit as an ancient measurement of length. The author had math start with the ancient Egyptians (since, according to him, it wasn't needed before then because people were roaming herders). It also referred to a Sumerian counting system that started back in 3300 B.C. Overall, the book was interesting and well-written. I'd recommend it to those interested in an overview of the development of mathematics or to those desiring to teach their children math in an interesting way.
Chapter 1 talked about ancient calendars (how days, months, and years were calculated in various cultures) and how the modern calendar was developed. Chapter 2 talked about marking the passage of time (including how & why people started counting hours, minutes, and seconds). Chapter 3 talked about the development of weights and measures from ancient ones to modern non-metric systems. Chapter 4 talked about the development of the metric system (mostly weight, length, capacity, and temperature).
Chapter 5 talked about how ancient Egyptians used basic geometry to build pyramids and survey farm land. Chapter 6 talked about how ancient Greeks continued to develop mathematics. Chapter 7 talked about the different systems and symbols for numbers in various cultures and times. Chapter 8 talked about number patterns (like odd, even, prime, Fibonacci numbers, square numbers, and triangular numbers). Chapter 9 talked about mathematical proofs, decimal points, fractions, negative numbers, irrational numbers, and never-ending numbers.
Chapter 10 talked about algebra and analytical geometry. Chapter 11 talked about network design, combinations & permutations, factorials, Pascal's triangle, and probability. Chapter 12 talked about the development of counting machines, from early mechanical calculators to modern digital calculators. Chapter 13 talked about the development of modern computers. Chapter 14 gave some math tricks and puzzles.
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Debbie White (GenreReviewer)
I review books, do organic gardening (vegetables, fruit trees, etc.), mentor a young lady, and work with inmates at the local jail and state prison units. I live in a passive solar house (with an active … more
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Numbers surround us. Just try to make it through a day without using any. It’s impossible: telephone numbers, calendars, volume settings, shoe sizes, speed limits, weights, street numbers, microwave timers, TV channels, and the list goes on and on. The many advancements and branches of mathematics were developed through the centuries as people encountered problems and relied upon math to solve them. For instance:
What timely invention was tampered with by the Caesars and almost perfected by a pope?
Why did ten days vanish in September of 1752?
How did Queen Victoria shorten the Sunday sermons at chapel?
What important invention caused the world to be divided into time zones?
What simple math problem caused the Mars Climate Orbiter to burn up in the Martian atmosphere?
What common unit of measurement was originally based on the distance from the equator to the North Pole?
Does water always boil at 212° Fahrenheit?
What do Da Vinci’s Last Supper and the Parthenon have in common?
Why is a computer glitch called a “bug”?
It’s amazing how ten simple digits can be used in an endless number of ways to benefit man. The development of these ten digits and their many uses is the fascinating story you hold in your hands: Exploring the World of Mathematics.