Similarity and Equality in Greek Mathematics: Semiotics, History of Mathematics and Mathematics Education

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Abstract

The first goal of this article to show the profound difference between how equality and similarity are understood in Greek geometry and how they are presented in modern mathematics classes. It highlights that the formula "equal-and-similar" reflects the distinct character of "equal" and "similar" as signs in Greek mathematical discourse. The second goal of the article is to demonstrate how such a treatment of history of mathematics defines the teacher's task as one of positioning students with respect to the past, leading them out beyond their parochial modernity to a place where they may begin to see their inescapable relationship with the past. Historical understanding, in this way, becomes not just a tool for motivating students or providing additional classroom examples, but an important end in itself for mathematics education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-7
Number of pages6
JournalFor the Learning of Mathematics
Volume29
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Conic sections
  • Structural linguistics
  • Geometric shapes
  • Semiotic signs
  • History instruction
  • Modern mathematics
  • Similarity theorem
  • Mathematics education
  • Semiotics
  • Historical linguistics
  • Geometry
  • Greece
  • Student Motivation
  • Modern Mathematics
  • Mathematics Instruction
  • Mathematics Education
  • Foreign Countries
  • Teaching Methods
  • Historical Interpretation

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