Review of Abraham Lincoln’s cyphering book and ten other extraordinary cyphering books.

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Reviews the book, Abraham Lincoln's Cyphering Book and Ten Other Extraordinary Cyphering Books by Nerida F. Ellerton and M. A. (Ken) Clements (2014). The book discusses the text produced by students and which serves as the capstone of their mathematical learning, artifacts from earlier era of school mathematics. One is tempted to equate a Cyphering Book with a mathematics notebook like those studied in author's paper with Amit cited. Like notebooks these handwritten books followed a sequence of mathematical topics or stages within a topic and placed particular emphasis on rules, paradigms, and worked examples. And like notebooks, they bore the mark of their owners. The most typical school notebooks today, these were extensive one described by Ellerton and Clements in their book and they prepared it with great attention and care, some exquisite illustrations and diagrams and some had masterful penmanship. The glimpses of the attained curriculum may be garnered from the pages of Cyphering Books is an issue of great interest for the historian and, accordingly, for Ellerton and Clements. Ellerton et al. brought a few examples of cyphering books from their own vast collection. Holding one of these and leafing through it, seeing the carefully formed letters and signs and how the boy who owned the book practiced his work page after page, (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish GB
Number of pages6
Specialist publicationMathematical Thinking and Learning
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • Curriculum
  • Learning
  • Mathematics Education
  • Books


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