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# Brianna Plaster

Elizabeth Caruso

## UWRT 1103 019 Commented [BC1]:

Class then date
Date format: 13 April 2017
Include title and last name/page number

My topic for my Inquiry project was the concept of mathematics and more specifically

numbers. Through my research, I attempted to explain where the notion of numbers first came Commented [BC2]: Introduce the idea without
mentioning the class. Come to this as a professional.
about and what reason was needed to develop them in the first place. I also wanted to find out

whether mathematics was defined as a scientific law or merely a human principle designed to

explain naturally occurring phenomenon. Along with researching early numbers I began to look

through history and specifically clued into certain periods, such as the Egyptian and Greek ages.

While perusing through information I learned how basic geometry and algebra were discovered

as well as the method and conception of the number pi. I personally felt that pi was an odd and Commented [BC3]: Show findings instead of goals.

vague concept that many children probably didnt understand fully so I decided to focus on this

for my product. I resolved to write a fairy tale story on how pi came to be and attempt to relate

to late elementary and early middle school children. The intention of my project was to explain

in laymans terms a very heavy topic that many college students are not even sure of and make it

fun and exciting at the same time. Though the story would be very focused compared to my very

broad topic overall, I believed it to be a perfect way to demonstrate the way in which

mathematicians formulate the very principles so many majors and careers focus on to this very

day. I would also attempt to explain other mathematical concepts, such as rational numbers,

irrational numbers, and zero, through various characters throughout the story. Commented [BC4]: Since you will have already done this
by the time you submit, put this into present or past tense.
To accurately write this story I first needed to do a little research. I needed to understand

not only where pi came from but also exactly what rational and irrational numbers were and how

best to explain them to children. I began by considering where pi came from and how it was

discovered. I learned that the investigation of pi is still ongoing even today and that

Mathematicians from around the world are attempting to find exact formulas, fractions, and more

recently patterns that can be used to define the never-ending string of numbers, most identified

with 3.14, that is pi. William L. Schaaf once expressed pi as being, Probably no symbol in Commented [BC5]: Make the parts outside of the quote
connect as a regular sentence would with the quote itself.
mathematics has evoked as much mystery, romanticism, misconception and human interest as

the number pi" (Wilson, 2017). From there I gathered that there is no clear understanding where

the idea of pi first came about; however, the first evidence of pi originates with the Babylonians

## and Egyptians more than 4000 years ago.

It is believed that they might have simply drawn a circle in the sand a used a piece of

rope to measure the circumference and discovered that it was moderately three times the size of

the diameter, or the distance from one point to the other that cuts directly through the center of

the circle. Nonetheless, an Egyptian papyrus known as the Rhind Papyrus gives another

approximate timeline of 1650 B.C. when the scribe Ahmes wrote, Cut off 1/9 of a diameter and

construct a square upon the remainder; this has the same area as the circle" (Wilson, 2017). In

other words, if you multiplied (8/9) by four you got 3.16049 which is fairly accurate to the

modern estimation of pi. Due to the Chinese and the old testament in the Bible, there was a brief

period in which pi was believed to equal exactly three. This changed when the Greeks took two

revolutionary steps in the search for exact value of pi. Antiphon and Bryson of Heraclea

inscribed a polygon into a circle, found its area, and continued to double the sides over and over,

believing that if enough sides were added on then eventually the polygon would become a circle.
They did not estimate, however, the number of tiny triangles they would have to find the areas of

and therefore were only able to get a few decimal places. After this, mathematicians continued

to frantically search for an answer but the problem was eventually laid to the side in the 19th

century.

Archimedes of Syracuse was the first mathematician to really make an impact in the

search. He took the theories of Antiphon and Bryson of Heraclea, but instead of focusing on the

area of the polygon, two hexagons to be exact, he set his sights on the perimeter of the shape and

used this to find the circumference of the circle. Through his tests, he gathered many delicate

calculations and the most accurate estimation of pi up to this point which was equivalent to 3

10/71. After this period, there wasnt much advance in the investigation until the 16th century

when there was finally a mathematical explosion. Francleois Viete, a French lawyer and

mathematician at the time, took Archimedes theory and expanded on it even more. Instead of

doubling the hexagon nine times as Archimedes had, he doubled the shape sixteen times to finish

with 393,216 sides and came to a final number of 3.1415926535. This experiment also proved

that pi comes from the ratio of the circumference of the circle to its diameter and that the

circumference is always roughly three times the size of the diameter. Later research upon this

experiment would discover that pi was an infinite number with no exact value. Further research

showed that pi was later defined as an irrational number due to the lack of an exact value while

## numbers such as 1,2,3 remain as rational numbers with definite values

Overall, I hope the audience gains valuable information and a more in depth

understanding of the concept of numbers while reading my story. I hope to bring this more to

the forefront in public education to maybe influence the methods in which math is taught and

possibly change the curriculum slightly to have more mathematics history in early education
instead of just in late college years. There are so many mathematical principles that it is hard to

go over them all but I hope this little glimpse into the depth of the universe that is math entices

others to create their own inquiry and dive into the world of information for themselves. Commented [BC6]: You have great information so far,