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The classic Maya utilized geometry extensively in constructing their homes and buildings without the use of modern measuring devices. By using simple knotted measuring cords, they were able to form right angles and rectangles with sides in special ratios which they noticed appearing in nature, especially in flowers. These special ratios included square roots of small integers, as well as the golden mean. Students today can use these same methods to explore and engage with geometrical concepts through hands-on activities, while at the same time gaining an appreciation of some of the mathematical contributions of the classic Maya civilization.
John C. D. Diamantopoulos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He has been very active in the MAA, both at the section and national level. His mathematical interests include ordinary differential equations, mathematics education, and history of mathematics. Diamantopoulos is also very active in his church, volunteering on computer productions/presentations and any area that needs attention. |
Cynthia J. Woodburn is a University Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. She has participated in all of the MAA Study Tours since 2009. Her research areas include computational commutative algebra and history of mathematics. Woodburn is a handbell soloist and has a black belt in Chinese Kenpo karate. |
John C. D. Diamantopoulos (Northeastern State University) and Cynthia J. Woodburn (Pittsburg State University), "Maya Geometry in the Classroom - Conclusion - Resources," Convergence (August 2013)