Embedding History of Mathematics in Teaching K-12 Mathematics
According to Mihajlovic (2014), mathematics is a human creation that has been developed for more than four thousand years. The development of mathematics can be investigated in its history. Based on the dictionary of Cambridge, history is a record of actions or events that have happened often over a period of time. Therefore, the history of mathematics is a whole series or chronological record of mathematics development and inventions over the past period. It is important for us to realize that the history of mathematics is firmly embedded in teaching and learning mathematics. It can be seen by seeing at the relevance of embedding history of mathematics in teaching and learning. Moreover, some studies have investigated the possible approaches and methods and its analysis of embedding history of mathematics in teaching and learning.
Looking at the history of mathematics, the mathematics development is not only determined by the circumstances in which it becomes a deductively structured theory, but also by the procedures that originally led or may lead to it (Clark, 2016). The origin of human thinking naturally comes up with the problems they faced. The human tried to solve the world problem by using their cognitive way of thinking with sense-making actions and motivations. Similar to the process of learning mathematics, students need to build their motivation, mathematics actions, and reflection of their learning. As this process, a possible natural way for teaching mathematics is embedding historical mathematics in mathematics teaching and learning. Students should develop their knowledge and understanding of how scientific ideas change through time and how the nature of these ideas and the uses to which they are put are affected by the social, moral, spiritual, and cultural contexts in which they are developed (Fauvel, 1991). There is some other relevance of embedding history of mathematics in teaching k-12 mathematics.
According to Liu (2015), the history of mathematics can help increase self-motivation and helps develop a positive attitude toward learning because the students use exploration in solving a mathematics problem. Also, past obstacles in the development of mathematics can help explain what today students find difficult is so that the teacher can construct the teaching method to face the students’ difficulties inappropriate way. Moreover, the history of mathematics can help develop students’ mathematical thinking, reveals the humanistic facts of mathematical knowledge, and give teacher guide about the approach and method of teaching mathematics.
Since the history of mathematics relevant to the teaching and learning of mathematics, teachers are suggested to implement some possible approaches and methods of embedding History of Mathematics in teaching K-12 mathematics. In learning algebra, teachers might know that using algebra tiles can be a possible approach to introduce linear or quadratic expression through the past solution that integrated with the history about it. Another example is teaching counting within 10000 using number disc. It is what the mathematics history told about counting using a grouping of sticks similar to the concept of number disc. According to Fauvel (1991), the approaches and methods that can be used in the classroom are mention past mathematics anecdotally, provide historical introductions to concepts which are new to students, encourage pupils to understand the historical problems to which the concept they are learning, give a history of a mathematics lesson, encourage the creation of the project with a historical theme, explore past misconceptions/errors/alternative views to help in understanding and resolving difficulties for today’s learners, and devise the pedagogical approach to a topic in sympathy with its historical development.
In conclusion, it is important that the history of mathematics embedding to the teaching and learning mathematics k12. History of mathematics is a whole series or chronological record of mathematics development and inventions over the past period. Therefore, the history of mathematics is firmly embedded in teaching and learning mathematics. History of mathematics can help increase self-motivation and helps develop a positive attitude toward learning because the students use exploration in solving a mathematics problem. Not only that, but the approaches and methods that can be used in the classroom are also mentioned past mathematics anecdotally, provide historical introductions to concepts which are new to students, and encourage pupils to understand the historical problems to which the concept they are learning.
Po-Hung, L. (2003). Do Teachers Need to Incorporate the History of Mathematics in Their Teaching? Mathematics Teacher, 96(6), 416–421.
Clark, Kathleen & Kjeldsen, Tinne & Schorcht, Sebastian & Tzanakis, Constantinos & Wang, X.. (2016). History of Mathematics in Mathematics Education: Recent developments.
Dejić, M., & Mihajlović, A. M. (2014). History of Mathematics and Teaching Mathematics. Teaching Innovations, 27(3), 15–30.
Fauvel, J. (1991). Using History in Mathematics Education. For the Learning of Mathematics, 11(2), 3–6. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40248010