A brief history of quadratic equations for mathematics educators. (English)

Adams, G. (ed.), Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics (BSRLM). Vol. 35, No. 3. Proceedings of the day conference, University of Reading, UK, November 7, 2015. London: British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics (BSRLM). 90-95 (2016).

Summary: In contrast to the 2007 secondary curriculum, the new English mathematics curriculum alludes only to Roman Numerals in the primary programme of study. Despite the words: ‘Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems.’ in the Purpose of Study section there is no further mention of historical or cultural roots of mathematics in the aims, or in the programmes of study. The increased expectations for lower and middle attainers in the new curriculum, challenge teachers to make more mathematics accessible and memorable to more learners. The history of mathematics can provide an engaging way to do this. There are also opportunities in post-16 mathematics. We use quadratic equations to illustrate some of the ways that history of mathematics can enrich teaching of this topic.