Research shows that students learn best when they actively participate in their learning. In particular, hands-on activities provide the greatest opportunities for gaining understanding and promoting retention. Apart from simple manipulatives, the mathematics classroom offers few options for hands-on activities. However, the history of mathematics offers many ways to incorporate hands-on learning. By bringing this material culture of mathematics into the classroom, students can experience historical applications and uses of mathematics in a setting rich in discovery and intellectual interest. This volume is a compilation of articles from researchers and educators who use the history of mathematics to facilitate active learning in the classroom. The contributions range from simple devices, such as the rectangular protractor, to elaborate models of descriptive geometry. Other chapters provide detailed descriptions on how to build and use historical models in the high school or collegiate classroom.
Amy Shell-Gellasch is currently a Faculty Fellow at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.