Teaching Math in America

Slide Rules, Slates, and Software—Teaching Math in America is a site on the history of math teaching since the beginning of the nation. It’s sections are The Early Republic, The World Stage, The Cold War, and The Information Age.

The Early Republic talks about how math was taught with “Ray’s Practical Arithmetic” using slates. In the 1800’s blackboards were introduced to schools across America by Math Teachers with ties to England and France. In 1840, The Massachusetts educator William A. Alcott visited over 20,000 schoolhouses. “A blackboard, in every school house,” he wrote, “is as indispensably necessary as a stove or fireplace.” It goes on to show Arithmetic cards, and geometric models of the early 1800’s.

The World Stage discusses how Americans began playing a larger role in the field of Mathematics. New Arithmetic frames were made as well as geometric models and the slide rule. This section also discusses high school level students quadrupling and the effect that had on education standards.

The Cold War discusses how the student body boomed in the 1950’s and new math was introduced to schools as well as the mathematical instruments. Continuing on into the 1960’s with the introduction of the Little Professor calculator. This leads us into the Information Age. The information brought us neater calculators (which I was quite thankful for, especially the graphing calculators), computer software and new curricula.

All in all a historically interesting read.