SLATES, SLIDE RULERS, AND SOFTWARE--TEACHING MATH IN AMERICA
The Cold War

 

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During the 1950s and 1960s, as the number of American schoolchildren soared, mathematicians, psychologists, and educators began to reexamine methods of teaching math. After the Soviet Union successfully launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, better mathematics teaching was linked to U.S. national defense.

Reformers argued that students would benefit from a more abstract approach to arithmetic and algebra that incorporated more sophisticated mathematical ideas. The curricula they developed, which went under the name of “New Math,” were highly controversial.

 
Students learning new math - Click To Enlarge
STUDENTS LEARNING NEW MATH

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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Blackboards and other instructional equipment remained part of the classroom, even as the principles taught became more abstract.

The years during and immediately after World War II were a time of romances and many marriages, leading, in time, to a large new generation of arithmetic students.

 

 
Sheet Music - Click To Enlarge
SHEET MUSIC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackboard Dividers - Click To Enlarge
BLACKBOARD DIVIDERS
 
Blackboard Protractor - Click To Enlarge
BLACKBOARD PROTRACTOR
   

Starting in the 1870s, American instrument makers sold oversized drawing instruments for blackboard use. After World War II, as the enrollment at community colleges and technical schools expanded, so did math classes. The above dividers and protractor were used at the Bliss Electrical School, the forerunner of Montgomery College in Takoma Park, Maryland.  

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The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, Behring Center