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Living Math Through History C1U1 Intermediate Level Book List

Lecture series from The Teaching Company suggested for parents self-educating:

  • History of Science: Antiquity to 1700

  • The Joy of Thinking The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas –

some of these lectures are accessible to Intermediate level kids.

  • Math History Readers, used only in this unit. Each is different in style of

presentation: The History of Counting by Denise Schmandt-Besserat. From Zero to Ten by Vivian French. More of a cartoon type resource with humor.

  • Senefer, A Young Genius in Old Egypt, Beatrice Lumpkin – although this is in a

picture book format, it is an advanced reader and explores more advanced mathematical ideas such as Egyptian multiplication.

  • How to Count Like a Martian by Glory St. John - Different systems of counting

including the Egyptian base ten, the Babylonian base sixty, the Hindu system using three symbols, and the abacus and computer systems. Out of print.

  • Science in the Past, Ancient Mesopotamia – history of ancient science w/

chapters on mathematics. Series consist of fairly short books with lots of pictures.

  • String, Straightedge & Shadow by Julia Diggins, approx. 7th grade on up.

  • Optional Historical Context - Story of the World Vol. 1 by Susan Wise Bauer.

  • Parent Resources:

I Africa Counts by Claudia Zaslavsky is a unique resource for understanding other cultures and math develop. Adult text, but quite readable, activities suggested.

  • Parent Resource: Before Writing: From Counting to Cuneiform by Denise

Schmandt-Besserat – adult text, contains many vivid, detailed pictures of artifacts such as tokens.

From Five Fingers to Infinity, a collection of math history essays edited by Frank Swetz (Chapter 7) or How Writing Came About by Denise Schmandt-Besserat are more abbreviated sources of token images if you cannot find the Before Writing book, it has gone out of print.

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