SLATES, SLIDE RULERS, AND SOFTWARE--TEACHING MATH IN AMERICA
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In the late 1950s, seeing booming school enrollments and a threat from advanced Soviet technology, U.S. mathematicians, scientists, and educators developed new approaches to teaching math.  
On-Sets Game - Click To Enlarge
ON-SETS GAME
 

The New Math, as it was called, placed much more emphasis on learning mathematical principles than on mastering practical business applications of math. Students were exposed to set theory and other ideas, both in the classroom and through games like this one.

Students in this Illinois school (below; left) used Cuisenaire rods and the time-honored blackboard. They also learned about the properties of whole numbers using a number line, the long strip of paper fastened above the blackboard.  

 
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Students learning new math - Click To Enlarge
STUDENTS LEARNING NEW MATH
 
Little Professor Calculator - Click To Enlarge
ELECTRONIC HANDHELD CALCULATOR--LITTLE PROFESSOR
 

During the 1960s, desktop electronic calculators made it possible to perform routine calculations by machine in the laboratory and the office. In the 1970s, with the introduction of microprocessors, handheld electronic calculators came on the market. They now replaced the slide rule on the belts of advanced students. Simpler calculators soon sold as educational toys.

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