Concept Development: On the Shoulders of Giants
Two-Page Timeline, Presentation and Annotated References

If I have seen further it is only by standing on ye shoulders of giants.
[Isaac Newton in a Letter to Robert Hooke, dated 5 February 1675]

Einstein and Leisureguy's (Michael Han) grandson. Posted March 23, 2007.

You may work alone or with one other person.

Two-Page Timeline
Create an attractive and publication-quality historical timeline. Provide as complete as possible a listing of the major discoveries or ideas in the mathematical topic you have had approved by message on ASULearn and present the listing in an attractive display. A maximum of two pages (not including references, which are as long as needed) will be allowed so that someone else can quickly read your timeline and obtain a basic understanding of the events. The result should be an in depth exploration of the important and interesting geometric events in the history of a specific topic as related to geometry - not the entire history. Be sure to include recent information or applications related to your topic as well as contributions from diverse cultures and civilizations. Approximate dates can be noted as ~1762 or by a range of dates, such as 1700-1800, or by notations like 18th century.

Annotated Bibliography
Use many different types of sources, including scholarly references and library sources. Submit an annotated bibliography of all of the sources you used in the timeline, with annotations explaining how you used each reference in your timeline, where the pictures came from, etc. Use as many pages as you need for the annotated bibliography.

Turn in an electronic version of your timeline and references in Adobe acrobat pdf format to ASULearn. I will make these available to the rest of the class.

Research Session Presentations The presentation sessions are similar to research day at Appalachian, poster presentations at research conferences, or science fairs. Bring a printed version of the timeline and references to class to post on the wall [I will bring tape]. We will divide the class into two sessions (half the class will stand next to the timeline as the other half examines them, and then we will switch roles). During your session, you must stand by your timeline to discuss your topic and answer questions. If you work with another person, they will be in the other session so you should be prepared to present the entire project. When you are viewing other timelines, you will conduct peer review:
1) Name of the person and the topic.
2) List the geometric topics in the project.
3) list the people and civilizations in the project.
4) List a few strengths of the project.
5) Provide suggestions for improvement for the timeline and bibliography.
6) Provide suggestions for improvement for the presentation.
7) How much time and effort does it look like they put into their work, as compared to your own effort?
[2 = more than me, 1 = about the same as me, 0 = less than me]
8) What is your favorite part of their project?
9) Invent a question about the project. List the question and the person's answer.
peer review and self evaluation

Overview of the project and a grading rubric. rubric
Here is a sample timeline from first year seminar and a sample timeline from linear algebra (both satisfied different criteria).


The topic you choose will be one that you revisit in the final topic, so choose a topic that you are interested in!
History of area
History of axiomatic systems
History of coordinate geometry
History of geometric constructions
History of geometric transformations
History of parallel postulate
History of perimeter and circumference
History of polyhedra
History of similarity
History of volume

Your topic will be approved on a first-come-first-served basis as a message to me on ASULearn. There is a maximum of 2 people per topic (you can work individually or together).

References and Suggestions

Library books or books in my office contain a wealth of historical information. The CD entitled "Historical Modules for the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics" (Katz and Michalowicz, 2004) contains many modules of historical content and is also available for you to look at in my office hours.

Dr. Thomley and I co-edited the Encyclopedia of mathematics and society Ipswich, Mass. : Salem Press, 2012, which is available online through the library as well as in print in the library or in my office. Many of the project topics are related to articles in the work.

Websites such as the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive (O'Connor and Robertson, 2005) provide an extensive collection of articles on particular people and topics and you can perform a site search there. The Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics (Miller, J, 2008) can provide history on the development as well as the first published appearance of terms such as the Klein bottle. Other pages, such as Wikipedia's History of geometry can also be useful.

Some topic searches may yield many unrelated pages or be too general - like the history of area {which means a variety of notions in real-life} so modifying a search to look for more specific inforamtion - for example searching for a geometric object - might be helpful.

Similarly, the history of similarity might be too general a search. A modified search such as the history of "similar triangles" can be more productive and it leads to a mathematics history journal article Proportionality in Similar Triangles: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

As always, I am happy to help in office hours or on ASULearn.