A $1.5 million federal grant is pioneering a new approach to learning, as ancient math texts inspire new ways to teach.
Some of the classic texts that are the oldest written are the basis for the way Central Washington University math professor Dominic Klyve is developing a novel method of teaching math. He has been awarded a National Sciences Foundation grant, to be shared among six other universities. The purpose is to test if teaching math using ancient sources will help college students understand math concepts.
Early math scholars like Archimedes and Euclid are the sources that Klyve believes can give students insights missing from most college texts. “Over generations, as the original author’s ideas are copied and recopied, transcribed and interpreted, we end up with a modern textbook that is stripped away of all context,” he said.
For example, Klyve notes that contemporary textbooks have equations used to solve problems, but they rarely explain the how and the why of the development of the equations.