Learning using the history of Mathematics - High School Focus

Rod Krause
Learn how mathematical concepts began and developed, build replica artefacts & develop resources to bring motivation, illumination & challenges to high school maths cla...
Target Audience
Teachers of High School Mathematics. Teachers of History.
2 reviews

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Stories and mysteries from the past are tools that motivate and illuminate in the classroom. Many students love to find out where skills and ideas originated. The purpose of this course is to help teachers identify and use the many illuminating connections between skills and concepts in the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics syllabus and their origins. Activities will range from building replica artefacts to developing resources that will bring motivation, illumination and challenges to high school maths classes.


Teachers of High School Mathematics.
Teachers of History.

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

Course Access - This course is available 24/7. Once your enrolment is complete you will be emailed with details to give you course access. You can complete the course when it suits you, and you will have ongoing access to revisit the course at any time.

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Teaching Standards
2.1.2 Proficient Level – Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area
2.5.2 Proficient Level – Literacy and numeracy strategies
3.3.2 Proficient Level – Use teaching strategies
6.4.2 Proficient Level – Apply professional learning and improve student learning
Are you in NSW? If so, this is relevant for you
Completing this course will contribute 5 hours of NESA Registered PD addressing 2.1.2, 2.5.2, 3.3.2 & 6.4.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

This course contributes to 5.0 professional development hours.


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The history of Mathematics as a learning tool.

1 hour

In this session we will see how research shows the importance of the history of Mathematics as a teaching and learning tool. The various ways it can be used in the classroom will be identified. This will be done through the reading of selections from research articles, short videos and feedback from actual classroom practice. 5 different methods of using the history of Mathematics to enhance student learning of concepts will be identified. These will form the basis of the remainder of the course.

The people of Mathematics

1 hour

The use of anecdotes and brief historical sketches with associated questions and investigations will be the focus of this session. The purpose of this type of activity is to introduce students to the names and work of historical persons and how they help us understand concepts being covered in our classrooms. This will be done with readings and video clips designed for various ages. Participants in the course will prepare a sketch and associated investigation for a concept or topic of their choice to use in the classroom.

How the origins of mathematics words can aid student learning.

1 hour

In this section we will look at where common words that we use in our Mathematics classes come from. We will see how the words of mathematics convey history. They have stories to tell – stories that are sometimes fascinating, frequently amusing and more importantly, reflect the growth and development of mathematics. Creative learning activities will be designed around this strategy that will motivate and illuminate learners. Presentation will be through video clips and downloadable documents and activity sheets.

Reinforcing concepts with problems from the past.

1 hour

Learning how problems were solved in antiquity and the purpose of problem solving will enlighten the way we solve problems in our classroom today. Interesting problems stated in documents such as the Rhind Papyrus, on clay tablets from Mesopotamia and in the works of famous mathematicians from the past will be used. Video clips displaying original documents and showing how solutions to these were expressed will help students learn about the development of problem solving skills. They will come to the realisation that practical problem solving has been at the heart of mathematics for thousands of years.

Hands on History - historically based activities for the classroom.

1 hour

This very practical session will be supported with a kit that will be mailed out to participants that will include papyrus, clay, writing tools and other items for the production of historical artefacts. Participants can choose from a range of activities including drawing of hieroglyphic numbers on papyrus, constructing replica clay tablets depicting Pythagoras' theorem (1000 years before Pythagoras!), making a royal cubit, constructing and measuring with an astrolabe, and doing complex multiplications with Napier’s Bones. The purpose of these activities is to motivate students and help their understanding of the origins of the skill and concepts they are working with in class.

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Latest Reviews

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Learning using the history of Mathematics - High School Focus - Rod Krause

only few passages were hard to read but in general the course was very interesting and has lots of important information

Learning using the history of Mathematics - High School Focus - Rod Krause

The content while fascinating, some of the concepts and examples were more primary school based. While still interesting, it may not be relevant in a secondary context

About the team

Rod Krause


Rod is an experienced and highly qualified practising teacher who has an active interest in the full spectrum of curricular from kindergarten to tertiary education. He has developed interactive and online resources, together with methodologies that engage learners in stimulating and genuine meaningful learning. Rod is continually developing maths resources, often in response to teacher requests. This expanding collection of online resources is being used internationally, providing an endless supply of exercises and activities which are based on sound learning theories and which can be quickly accessed and used on a daily basis in the context of best practice methodology. Rod believes strongly in engaging teachers and cooperating with them to improve the quality of the learning process.