Teaching the History of Tracking Time with Technology

Margaret Fitz


This article focuses on the mathematical value of teaching angles through the use of sundials in the classroom. The history of sundials and the mathematics embedded within them is discussed in detail. In addition, practical applications of angles are included, along with interactive practice telling time with the angles created on sundials. Time as a whole is explored from historical, mathematical and technological perspectives. Further, connections to middle and secondary grade mathematics, practical applications, and technological tools that aid student understanding are discussed. Teaching the history of tracking time through the study of sundials provides a rich learning experience for students in the middle grades; they are able to see mathematical concepts, such as angles applied to the real world, as well as learn new history about a topic they most likely are not very familiar with.

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