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Math Appreciation

Essays and Books about the meaningful role that math can play in all aspects of life!

A Chronicle of Human Endeavor

A few years after arriving at Corning Community College as the founding mathematics department chairperson in 1958, Herb Gross realized that many of his basic-math students were not planning on entering a STEM-oriented career and that they would soon forget the math that they were expected to learn in basic algebra. So he undertook the task of developing a “math appreciation” type of course that would show students how the development of mathematics mirrored the development of civilization.

He felt that it would not only give students a better understanding and appreciation of mathematics, but that it would also dramatically reduce their fear of mathematics. His feeling was that too many students limited their chances for an increased quality of life because of their fear of mathematics; and therefore avoided any profession in which they felt they might be expected to know even a little mathematics.

His extensive course notes eventually evolved into the textbook, “Mathematics: A Chronicle of Human Endeavor”, that was published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1971. Now more than 45 years later, we feel that this textbook is even more vital than it was then. Accordingly, we have made a copy of the textbook available on our website for you to view. The book elicited a review that appeared on from David Miller. Have a look!

Calculus in Everyday Life

The intention of Calculus in Everyday Life is to relate the basic concepts of Calculus to ideas we encounter in our lives every day. We especially invite teachers to read these "lessons" as they will, in turn, help you internalize how important a role basic arithmetic, algebra and geometry play in helping students be adequately prepared to take topics in higher mathematics of which calculus is one example. In addition, by the time you are finished you will have a deep understanding of limits, derivatives and integrals - the heart and soul of Calculus.

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