Cover image for Geometry from Africa : mathematical and educational explorations
Title:
Geometry from Africa : mathematical and educational explorations
Author:
Gerdes, Paulus.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, DC : Mathematical Association of America, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xv, 210 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 x 24 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Geometrical and educational explorations inspired by African cultural activities -- On geometrical ideas in Africa south of the Sahara -- From African designs to discovering the Pythagorean theorem -- Geometrical ideas in crafts and possibilities for their educational exploration -- 'Sona' sand drawing tradition and possibilities for its educational use.
ISBN:
9780883857151
Format :
Book

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GN476.15 .G47 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

This book draws on geometric ideas from cultural activities from Subsaharan Africa, and demonstrates how they may be explored to develop mathematical reasoning from school level through to university standard. Paulus Gerdes provides a thoroughly illustrated and researched exploration of mathematical ideas, motifs and patterns. Many important mathematical points are brought to the fore, not via the formal 'theorem-proof' method, but in a more schematic and diagrammatic manner. African artifacts, oral traditions, sand drawing and other forms of artwork with a geometric basis, all provide mathematical ideas for discussion in this unique book. Mathematicians and teachers of mathematics at all levels will be fascinated, as will anybody with an interest in African cultures.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

Gerdes, widely noted for his work in ethnomathematics, is a mathematician, mathematics educator, and mathematics historian. He has authored numerous articles and books describing the mathematics intrinsic in artifacts of African culture. In this book the author describes the geometry of Sub-Saharan carving, sand painting, pottery, and weaving, and he explores the inherent mathematics. Gerdes's educational investigations deal not only with area, volume, and the Pythagorean Theorem but also with topics such as the sum of the first n integers and the sum of the first n odd integers. Abundant illustrations help to clarify the mathematical analysis. The author expertly blends art, mathematics, and lore, thereby giving the reader a greater appreciation of African culture. The book is an example of how reflection on the art of cultures can lead to mathematics. Readers familiar with Zaslavsky's (1973) Africa Counts will find this volume more detailed in its explorations of mathematics. College mathematics departments and mathematics education departments wishing to illustrate how mathematics can be derived from various contexts will find this volume very useful. Gerdes's volume is a significant contribution to the literature of non-European centric mathematics. All of the mathematical ideas are accessible to undergraduates. A. O. Graeber; University of Maryland College Park


Table of Contents

1 On geometric ideas in Africa south of the Sahara
2 From African designs to discovering the Pythagorean Theorem
3 Geometric ideas in crafts and possibilities for their educational exploration
4 The 'sona' sand drawing tradition and possibilities for its educational use