Decimal System, Zero, and Pi
Students will come to learn Indian contributions to key mathematical systems and how important they were to the advancement of civilization.
One class period
Handout: The Decimal System, the Importance of Zero, and the Value of Pi
Reading comprehension, critical analysis, ability to understand mathematical concepts and their importance to civilization.
- Give students a math problem to solve using only Roman numerals. Have them do the same problems with the so-called Arabic numerals (for example, MM x II versus 2000 x 2). Discuss the differences.
- Hand out and ask students to read The Decimal System and the Importance of Zero.
- Why is the decimal system so much easier to use? What is the importance of zero?
- Students are familiar with the Seven Wonders of the World. Ask them to make a list of the seven greatest discoveries of the world. Do the base-ten numerical system, numerals, and zero belong on the list? Why or why not?
- Go through step-by-step the Pi diagram in the Value of Pi handout so your students understand the process in which Pi was discovered.
- Discuss the importance of Pi. How can its value be determined? How important is this concept?
- Discuss the history of the concept of Pi. How is it still helpful to us today?