Awareness of Preservice Mathematics Teachers about Prehistoric and Ancient Number Systems

Nazan Mersin, Mehmet Akif Karabörk, Soner Durmuş


This study seeks to analyse the awareness of the pre-service teachers on the counting methods, systems and tools used in the prehistoric method and the Ancient period and to examine the distribution of this awareness by gender. A total of 42 sophomore-level students studying at a university in the Western Black Sea region, Turkey, participated in this exploratory case study. The data were obtained through a form consisting of 6 questions, one of which is open-ended, after the 14-week course of history of mathematics. The data collection tool included questions on the counting methods used in the pre-historic period and the Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Roman, Babylonian, Ancient Greek and Mayan number systems. The data were analysed through descriptive analysis and content analysis. The findings indicated that the pre-service teachers most reported the methods of tallying, tying a knot, token, circular disc. Also, the question on the Ancient Egyptian number system was answered correctly by all pre-service teachers, the lowest performance was observed in the question on the Mayan number system. Analysis of the answers by gender revealed that the male pre-service teachers were more likely to give false answers compared to the female pre-service teachers.


Ancient Number Systems; History of Mathematics; Prospective Mathematics Teachers

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