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Infinite Secrets

Viewing Ideas

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Before Watching

  1. Archimedes made a number of mathematical and scientific discoveries during his lifetime. As they watch, have students take notes on Archimedes' key discoveries, how he made those discoveries, and the importance of each discovery.

  2. Develop a timeline of important mathematicians, including those from non-Western civilizations such as Egypt, China, India, and Mesoamerica. Have students research the time and place where each mathematician lived and the contribution he or she made to mathematics. Develop a class timeline and add Archimedes to place him in the historical context of other mathematicians.

  3. Ask students how math is important in their everyday lives. Have them give examples of how they use it or how their parents use it (such as baking cookies, paying bills, building an object, or planning a garden).

After Watching

  1. Have students refer to the notes they took about Archimedes' scientific and mathematical contributions. What were some of his inventions? Which of his discoveries were the most revolutionary and why?

  2. An anonymous collector paid $2 million for Archimedes' Palimpsest (a palimpsest is a manuscript that has been written on more than once). Discuss with students what makes the book so valuable. How was it created? How was it analyzed when first found in 1906? How is it being analyzed today? What was the effect of losing the manuscript for so long?

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