Question Sheet: Math of the World
- How do people use math in everyday life?
- Where in the natural world might you see complex mathematical patterns?
- Name three surprising places where Ron Eglash has found math.
- What sort of math describes the design of some African villages? Why do
these villages have such a design?
- What is a fractal?
- Why is “four-point symmetry” important to many Native Americans? Where can
you see examples of it?
- Describe the Cartesian coordinate system.
- Eglash says, “We are using math as a bridge to culture.” What does he mean?
- Does math in school feel very distant from everyday life? Do Eglash’s
examples help you feel more connected to math?
- Find and describe an example of math in objects or rituals from your
family’s cultural heritage.
- What was the most surprising place where Eglash found math? Why?
- Why are patterns an important part of mathematics? See www.learner.org/teacherslab/math/patterns/(Teacher’s Lab).
- Compare traditional ways of learning math to Eglash’s method. What are some
of the advantages and disadvantages of the two systems? See www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-06/rpi-mlg062306.php
(Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Where in Africa do the Fulani people live? In general, how do the Fulani make a living? What type of artworks and designs are they known for? See www.uiowa.edu/~africart/toc/people/Fulani.html (University of
Iowa), www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/fula/hd_fula.htm (Metropolitan
Museum of Art), and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulani(Wikipedia).
- Look at pictures of quilts in a book or online. Design and draw your own
quilt with a mathematical pattern. Describe why you used the pattern that you
chose and where it came from. See members.aol.com/mathquilt/ (Rebecca Chaky) or its.guilford.k12.nc.us/webquests/quilts/quilts.htm (Guilford
County Schools, North Carolina).
- Write a brief report on a traditional Native American craft that uses
patterns (for example, beadwork, basket weaving, jewelry making, or pottery
making). Describe what meaning such patterns had in Native American life. See www.nativetech.org/ and www.nativetech.org/beadwork/index.php (Tara Prindle).
What basic shapes and simple rules went into the creation of the object shown below? What would be the starting shape? What is the first step? How many steps does it take to get to the pattern shown?
Draw what the next stage would look like. This fractal is sometimes called a Sierpinski triangle.