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Broad Topics > History and Philosophy of Mathematics > History of mathematics

St Ives

Stage: 2

As I was going to St Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Every wife had seven sacks, every sack had seven cats, every cat had seven kittens. Kittens, cats, sacks and wives, how many were going to St. . . .

Keeping it Safe and Quiet

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5

Simon Singh describes PKC, its origins, and why the science of code making and breaking is such a secret occupation.

Ishango Bone

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5 Short Challenge Level:

Can you decode the mysterious markings on this ancient bone tool?

From A Random World to a Rational Universe

Stage: 2, 3 and 4

In the time before the mathematical idea of randomness was discovered, people thought that everything that happened was part of the will of supernatural beings. So have things changed?

A Brief History of Time Measurement

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5

Noticing the regular movement of the Sun and the stars has led to a desire to measure time. This article for teachers and learners looks at the history of man's need to measure things.

History of Morse

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5

This short article gives an outline of the origins of Morse code and its inventor and how the frequency of letters is reflected in the code they were given.

The Secret World of Codes and Code Breaking

Stage: 2, 3 and 4

When you think of spies and secret agents, you probably wouldn’t think of mathematics. Some of the most famous code breakers in history have been mathematicians.

Maths in the Victorian Classroom

Stage: 2 and 3

What was it like to learn maths at school in the Victorian period? We visited the British Schools Museum in Hitchin to find out.

Circles, Circles Everywhere

Stage: 2 and 3

This article for pupils gives some examples of how circles have featured in people's lives for centuries.