As I try to incorporate more history, science, language, computing, and art into my math class I keep finding the lessons to be very successful and my students always seem to enjoy them. While I know a fair amount about computing and science, I do not know nearly as much about the others and as such, takes longer to make these lessons. I am lucky if I can get one in every two weeks. I was wondering if there are any other resources on possible curricula/lessons that take an interdisciplinary approach to math education?

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    $\begingroup$ What level/age are your students? $\endgroup$
    – Sue VanHattum
    May 3, 2015 at 2:31
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    $\begingroup$ my students are high school students (Geometry, Algebra I/II, Calculus) $\endgroup$
    – celeriko
    May 3, 2015 at 2:53

3 Answers 3


Paul Lockhart's Measurement and David Foster Wallace's Everything and More incorporate history, language and art in their exploration of mathematics.

1) Measurement explores mathematics as art form, and covers deeply many high school mathematics ideas with an eye toward their beauty. Excerpts could be used as required reading in various high school math classes or, for you, as sparks for lesson ideas.

2) Everything and More gives a scattered but entertaining history of the idea of infinity that may give you ideas for pre-calculus and calculus classes.

3) For a thorough (albeit dry) history of pre-calculus and calculus topics, Carl Boyer's The History of Calculus and Its Conceptual Development is a classic.

EDIT (more resources): 4) Phillips Exeter Academy publishes their curriculum online, which is a set of +1000 word problems covering high school math, including discrete math and multi-variable calculus. You could pull some of their interdisciplinary questions, like question 4 here from their discrete math problem set: discrete math question. This is just the first in a long set of problems that explore methods of apportioning votes that were proposed as the US Federal Government developed (see pages 7-8 for the beginning of the set). Click here and scroll down for more on how they implement this curriculum.

5) For computing, check out the fascinating Project Euler. From their website:

Project Euler is a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems that will require more than just mathematical insights to solve. Although mathematics will help you arrive at elegant and efficient methods, the use of a computer and programming skills will be required to solve most problems...The problems range in difficulty and for many the experience is inductive chain learning. That is, by solving one problem it will expose you to a new concept that allows you to undertake a previously inaccessible problem.

6) The introduction to Ernest Nagel's Godel's Proof is a lucid (and high school student accessible) explanation of the historical development and thinking behind the axiomatic method.

7) Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach is a free-wheeling exploration of human consciousness through analogies to mathematics, computer programming, biology, visual art, and music. It's a go-to for exploring recursive functions with your students.

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    $\begingroup$ There is much that I like about Wallace's Everything and More, such as his engaging writing style and his in depth and candid footnotes, but you'll want to be careful with many of his mathematical and historical assertions. He really should have run the manuscript by a mathematician during the editing process. See Rudy Rucker's review in Science and Michael Harris' review in Notices of the American Mathematical Society. $\endgroup$ May 5, 2015 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ @DaveLRenfro i have noticed that as I have been reading it that some of the assertions he make seem a bit off...as far as a general overview to give me ideas for future lessons (which I will definitely do more research for), i love it! $\endgroup$
    – celeriko
    May 8, 2015 at 15:05

Two possible sources, perhaps(?) at too low a level for your students.

(1) The Teacher Vision website contains materials, which unfortunately take a bit of effort to wade through. They do have some suggested lessons on history at the high-school level:

      Contents       Spiral

(2) And here is another possibly useful site, Yummy Math. One subset here is Teaching math with art:



Viewpoints: Mathematical Perspective and Fractal Geometry in Art, by Marc Frantz and Annalisa Crannell, looks interesting. I haven't had a chance to use it. It's college level, though.

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    $\begingroup$ I happen to have that book right here. It is quite good, but rather focussed on the two topics in the title: 70% on perspective, 30% on fractals. The two fractal chapters use logarithms; in general I think the material could be used at the high-school level. $\endgroup$ May 3, 2015 at 18:14

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