Math Tools

Abacus slide rule calculator

The Limitations and Development of Mathematical Instruments was an exhibit that took the visitor on a tour describing three instruments that changed the math world and our everyday lives. On their journey, they were exposed to the abacus, the slide rule, and the calculator. For each instrument, visitors learned a piece of their history, how to use the instrument, and their major limitations.

In each section, visitors had the opportunity to experiment with each instrument and to solve representative math problems. This gave them an opportunity to experience the tools' functions and limitations firsthand. We hope they left with a better understanding of how the functions, and limitations, of math instruments play a role in our everyday world and an understanding of how the limitations of different math tools led to the development of new ones.

Created by: Melissa Preece, Domenic Altieri, LM, Brilé Anderson.