Many of you know that back when the dinosaurs roamed, I taught High School Math.
Secretly, I was always amazed that as a beginning teacher the head of the math department assigned me a trigonometry class. We new teachers soon found out that for every "Good" Class (Trig, Geometry etc.) you were assigned two bad classes (General Math, Applied Math). Although, I loved Trig I really don't think I was a very good teacher. So I was so intrigued to learn that an Australian Doctor Dan Mansfield while studying a 3700 year old stone tablet from ancient Babylon, he found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: Trigonometry!
So Carol Ann? The astounding part is Trigonometry is credited to the Greeks some 1500 years later than the Babylonians! The Greeks were all about triangle sides and angles while the Babylonians are all about ratios. Mansfield states that the tablet demonstrates undoubted genius and that it provides the most completely accurate trigonometric table. He goes on to say he thinks it will have very practical applications in surveying, computer graphics and education. It's not everyday the ancient world can teach us something new and I wonder if it could have helped me be a better teacher?
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