Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors Paper


The selection of a subject for my honors work was determined not only by the desire to gain a broader knowledge of mathematics but also to make a study of something that would be of value in teaching in the state. From a variety of possible topics, the one, mathematical instruments seemed most interesting and appealing. This broad subject had to be narrowed down and made more specific. It was decided to limit it mainly to those instruments which might be used in the teaching of mathematics, these falling into two groups, those which can be made and those which it is more satisfactory to buy.

There are several factors to consider in the study of mathematical instruments. First of all it is necessary to know how to use the instrument and just what its function is. No instrument can be of value to anyone who does not know how to use it. After the use is carefully studied, it is desirable to understand the principle underlying the working of the instrument. It is always interesting to answer the question, "Why does this instrument do what it does do?" Another interesting fact to be learned about them is the time and place that they were first used and by whom this was done.

In studying the instruments that might be used in the teaching, one must consider their expense, for only a few schools can afford any but the very inexpensive ones. A number of simple yet useful instruments may be bought such as rulers, compasses, protractors, and slide rules. It may be possible to use several of these together in arranging some device that might be used in measuring angles, distances, and heights. Still others may be made satisfactorily. The making of them may create an interest that is lacking when the bought ones are used.

It is my purpose to find out from my study what instruments are best to use or add most to the teaching of mathematics in high school, which of these should be bought and which made, the advantages of using them, and when they may be used to the best advantage. A full description of the process of making all instruments that can be made by the pupils or teacher will be included and an approximate cost of each.

Included in

Mathematics Commons



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