came to the new Community Learning Center in Clearwater, Florida to do a math presentation
and he was fantastic!
He presented his book, Unlock the Mystery to Math, and his unique math instruction methods to our tutors, staff and families.
RJ has been an educator and tutor for over
30 years. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from
the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. For decades, he has witnessed the frustrations his
students were having in math, so he researched to find the real reason for his
After searching old math textbooks, encyclopedias and dictionaries, RJ discovered the missing pieces to the puzzle:
the basic knowledge of math had been gradually removed since the mid-1960s. While teaching the basics, he found students gained a greater respect and appreciation for mathematics.
We are going to be selling RJ's
books right here at the Community Learning Center in the very near future. For more information, please call us at (727) 441-4444.
I send out math tips. Here is a recent tip.
Adventuring into the vast subject of Algebra
is like asking a lost sailor in the middle of the Pacific
"What direction do we go?"
First, we'll explore the rich history of Algebra
Math tip #
As covered in an earlier tip, our numbers [0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9] were
developed in India around 600 AD. This was a huge
the number systems. Earlier civilizations had different ways of showing
numbers [see math tip #19] that actually held back their growth in
science and many areas of life.
Well, let's look at why the
numbers from India was a stroke of genius but still simple. We can use
them as negative numbers (-3, -287 ...), fractions (1/2, 7/8), decimals
(4.5, 7.8) and common usage. ( 0,1,2 ...) Most likely, these were
thought up because we have 10 fingers.
India's next door neighbor, Arabia liked the numbers so much they started to use them in their civilization.
Around 800 AD in Arabia (Bagdad, Iraq to be exact) a very clever man named Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi [say that, 3 times ] thought up the subject called Algebra. (Let's call him "Abu" for short)
So Abu using the numbers (0,1,2 ..) came up with Algebra. Keep in
mind, there were only two branches of math prior to this time. (Basic math; adding, subtracting etc [sometimes called Arithmetic
Abu wrote a book in 825 AD called Hibab al-jabra wal-muqubala.
Wow, that's a mouth full, huh?
But wait! Look at the second word in the title---al-jabra.
We altered a few letters and now call it ALGEBRA.
How did Abu come up with this word? The earlier translation of al-jabra
means "bringing together a broken bone
or reunion, completion".
That makes sense because in algebra we are trying to bring equations to completion,
btw-- Abu's book title is translated to, "The book of completion and
So, is Algebra Greek? Nope, it's Arabic.
Who is RJ Toftness? Author of "Unlock the Mystery to Math" & "Fractions: Part 1" & just released "The Math Chart." www.math-unlock.com
He currently tutors and gives math workshops in Southern California
Copyright 2012 RJ Toftness
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