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We are usually convinced more easily by reasons we have found ourselves than by those which have occurred to others.
We all strive to make our teaching of mathematics meaningful to students. Yet we are constantly plagued by the reverberating questions, “Why do we have to learn this?” and “When am I going to use it?”. Often the answers to these relevant questions can be found within the history of mathematics, accounts of the development of mathematics and the historical reasons these developments occurred. In recent years, more and more teachers have begun to realize how a knowledge of the history of mathematics can enhance student understanding as well as enrich classroom presentations.
This new climate of appreciation has been reflected in a marked increase of professional activities devoted to the subject. Regional and national meetings of the Mathematical Association of America and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics frequently feature presentations and workshops devoted to the history of mathematics as well as its use in teaching. A variety of publications supporting this effort have also appeared. But despite this response, there still remains an urgent need for readily available, user-friendly, teacher resources on utilizing the history of mathematics as a pedagogical aid.
It is with this need in mind that the concept of Convergence was conceived as an online magazine where mathematics, teaching and history interact. This magazine is sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America with the cooperation of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. It is a resource and forum for mathematics teachers of grades 9-14 mathematics who are interested in using mathematics history as a learning/ teaching tool. Convergence is an evolving resource whose features include:
We welcome your comments, ideas and support in assuring the continued success of Convergence.
Victor Katz and Frank Swetz, editors
Most of the quotations on this site have been provided as a service to the mathematical community by Mark Woodard of Furman University, who previously had most of these on his own site.