page of tutorial on Islamic Math & Science

Tearing Down Silos: The History of STEM

Many students struggle with STEM subjects like mathematics because it can be taught very abstractly: numbers, operations, angles, and so forth all floating in a context-less wormhole in space-time. The same goes for other topics in science; sometimes the theory seems to abstract to be relevant.  To re-ignite interest in different aspects of STEM (science, technology, engineering, & math) subjects, introduce your students to the concept that ideas and discoveries — including entire fields of study such as geometry and metallurgy — are historically grounded, and were the response to specific problems that people had.

To make the connections of STEM to politics, economics, and religion in World History A, we’ve created a series of tutorials that examine the developments made in science, technology, and mathematics in various societies.  From Math and Technology in the River Valley Civilizations to Technical Trends in Pre-Columbian Latin America, find out what propelled advances in these fields.  Whether it was working out astronomical calculations, such as the Egyptians did to predict the flooding of the Nile River, the invention of the modern numeral system and zero in ancient India, or inventing the mariner’s compass in ancient China, different civilizations made contributions to the world’s store of knowledge.

From there, you can make connections to the frontiers of math and science today, from the use of algorithms to program the Internet of Things (IoT) to the analysis of huge sets of data.  Just as Sumerian priests used skills from the STEM disciplines to do things that were important to them (such as build ziggurats), today people use these skills to create new materials.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

BulbgraphOnOffTo print out a test with mini-lesson answers, choose “practice test,” then the type and number of questions. Arrow to the end, then click “Print/Export.”

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Dr. Annelies Kamran is V.P. for Content and Product Development at WorldView Software, Inc.

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