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JiJi Visits Medieval Times

Why does math matter? A powerful way to answer this question is by exploring the impact of math on civilizations throughout history.

At the Math Fair next Saturday in Orange County, CA, you’ll get a chance to play ancient math games from Africa and explore the math behind the historical trade of blacksmithing, to name a few hands-on experiences. Understanding the origins of mathematical concepts can help create deeper learning experiences that bring math to life.

Take this example from the Middle Ages:


We don't often think of the Middle Ages as a time of great mathematical achievement. However, one of the most important shifts in how we represent numbers occurred during the Middle Ages, and this shift unshackled arithmetic and ushered in the great mathematical achievements of the Renaissance and beyond.

This shift was the move from Roman numerals to the Hindu-Arabic place value system we use today. Roman numerals lacked a symbol for zero and made basic calculations highly cumbersome. The new place value system allowed digits to be lined up to enable efficient arithmetic algorithms that people could learn to do by hand. 

It was the great mathematician Fibonacci who brought this place value system into widespread use throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. Today, JiJi and ST Math help students build a mastery over this place value system, forming a solid foundation of arithmetic and subsequently, algebra.

Thank you to our friends at the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament for sharing this historical context and reminding everyone that mathematics is the key to the future.

If you're local to Orange County, CA, join us at the Math Fair on Saturday, Nov. 5th at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa! Bring your family and friends to experience the beauty and power of mathematics together.

Register for the Math Fair

Matthew Peterson

About the Author

Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., is Co-founder and Chief Research & Development Officer at the MIND Research Institute. The creator of ST Math, Matthew leads a team in developing innovative learning environments.

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