Welcome to the course outline for A History of Counting Machines.
In this course you will learn about the history behind man's development of various counting devices. You will learn how the machines work and how to use them. Many students do not know the mechanics behind the operation of counting devices, and if we ever lost power our world would probably come to a dramatic technological end without computers and electronics. This course will give students a real-world perspective on inventions and how they came about. It will empower them with the tools necessary to really understand the technology behind the machine.
- Increase/improve students' awareness of significant mathematical inventions from a historical and humanistic perspective.
- Students successfully completing the course will be proficient in using several types of machine including the Comptometer and Napier's bones.
- Students will learn how these devices work and will be able to build simple counting devices from detailed diagrams.
- Students will learn the science of thinking-outside-the-box, and will invent a counting device of their own as a final project.
Outline of course content:
- What would we do without computers? An overview
- discussion on our reliance upon technology
- A brief history of counting machines
- What was life like without them?
- What changes did these devices make to our culture?
- Survey of mechanical and electronic calculator mechanisms
- Student's will use the following devices to answer math problems and investigate the history and culture behind the inventions:
Timeline adapted from "A Timeline of computer history" (http://www.computer.org/computer/timeline/timeline.pdf)
- The Salamis Tablet and other gaming/counting boards
- Roman Abacii
- Napier's Bones
- The Comptometer
- The Abacus
- The Scientific Calculator
- The Computer
"History of Calculators Timeline"