UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

EDUC5507 Cultural and Historical Perspectives of the Mathematics Curriculum

Credit 6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Summer teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
Content This unit aims to provide Mathematics educators with greater depth and breadth of both content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, and to add enrichment to teaching and learning experiences when they are addressing the Australian Curriculum—Mathematics. To meet these aims, this unit explores the history of mathematics through the lenses of the people, places, topics and themes key to the development of the subject. The unit provides a unified view and deep appreciation of mathematics by approaching the subject through its history.

The topics relate directly to the Australian Curriculum—Mathematics F-10 strands (number, algebra, measurement, geometry, statistics and probability) and Senior Secondary topics (e.g. calculus, complex numbers). The topics are developed through themes that are fundamental to mathematics, that have elementary foundations and strong interconnections, and that reinforce the AC-M General Capabilities and Cross Curriculum Priorities (e.g. Measuring the heavens and the earth—literacy; Nature—sustainability; Islamic art—intercultural understanding; and the mathematics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures).

The places (e.g. Greece, Asia, The Middle East) are those that have made mathematics a culturally rich field. The people (e.g. from the 'ancients' to Al Khowarizmi, Descartes, Euler, Gauß, Galois, Ramunujan, Praeger and Tao) are those who have made mathematics a vibrant and relevant discipline.
Outcomes Students are able to (1) describe and critique the contributions, and their significance, of world cultures to the development of mathematics; (2) identify key people in the history of mathematics, and evaluate the important and seminal contributions they have made to its development; (3) explore and interpret the way in which mathematics, applied in particular themes, has been foundational in understanding and interpreting the world around us; (4) research and analyse how the fundamental topics in mathematics developed, and their contribution to both the history and current practice of the subject; and (5) apply their knowledge and understanding of the cultural and historical development of Mathematics in their teaching and learning planning, programming and activities..
Assessment Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) assignment task and (2) research essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite standard(s) for the assignment task and research essay components of the unit, as specified in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s) Professor Peter Merrotsy
Unit rules
Prerequisites: completion of a Bachelor of Science or a degree containing a significant component of mathematics and its applications, or enrolment in the courses MTeach or GradDipEd, with Mathematics Education and/or Science Education as a major or minor teaching discipline
Contact hours workshops: 2 hours per week for 10 weeks
Unit Outlinehttp://www.unitoutlines.education.uwa.edu.au/Units/EDUC5507/SEM-2/2017
Note The unit will be of interest to anyone studying mathematics for its own sake, and will be of special relevance to those planning a career in secondary teaching of mathematics. This unit is recommended for those students who are studying Mathematics Education as a major or as a minor teaching discipline. The unit is also recommended for those students who find themselves one unit short of meeting the entry requirements to study Mathematics Education as a major or as a minor teaching discipline.

Stillwell, J. Mathematics and its history, 3rd edn: Springer 2010

Boyer, C. B. and Merzbach, U. C. A history of mathematics,3rd edn: John Wiley & Sons 2011

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