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History as a Source of Mathematical Narrative in Developing Students’ Interpretations of Mathematics

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Part of the Annals of the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics/ Société canadienne d’histoire et de philosophie des mathématiques book series (ACSHPM)

Abstract

The stereotypical images for mathematics and narrative are: mathematics is logical, certain, and objective, whereas narrative is often perceived as emotional, indefinite, and subjective. Nonetheless, mathematics and narrative can actually be deeply intertwined. Mathematical narrative is a form of narrative used to communicate or construct mathematical meaning or understanding. The role of history of mathematics in the teaching and learning of mathematics has been discussed for several decades, and the relationship between mathematics and narrative has also drawn much attention among scholars. In this paper, I will address in what way and to what extent history of mathematics can trigger college students’ mathematical narrative in the courses of “History of Mathematics” and “Mathematics in Ancient Civilizations.” The study reports on how these students redefined mathematics after receiving history-based courses of mathematics. Based on students’ interpretations of mathematical knowledge, this chapter addresses the role of history of mathematics in developing students’ capacity for mathematical narrative.

Keywords

  • History of mathematics
  • Mathematical narrative
  • Interpretations of mathematics

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Correspondence to Po-Hung Liu .

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Liu, PH. (2022). History as a Source of Mathematical Narrative in Developing Students’ Interpretations of Mathematics. In: Zack, M., Schlimm, D. (eds) Research in History and Philosophy of Mathematics. Annals of the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics/ Société canadienne d’histoire et de philosophie des mathématiques. Birkhäuser, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95201-3_10

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