Famous Mathematicians

A WebQuest for 9-12th Grade Mathematics

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In this activity, you are going to learn some interesting facts about a famous mathematician.  After you choose a famous mathematician, you are going to see if you can find their picture, write their eulogy, obituary, and also make their grave tombstone.  You can also find out if we have studied any topics that this mathematician also studied.

How many interesting facts can you find out about the famous mathematician that you have chosen?

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The Task

In this activity, you will:

Q  Choose a famous mathematician.

Q  Find as many interesting facts as you can about your famous mathematician.

Q  Find out the contributions that were made to the study of mathematics by your famous mathematician.

Q  Find out if we have studied any topics that your famous mathematician studied.

Q  Write an obituary for your famous mathematician.

Q  Write an eulogy for your famous mathematician.

Q  Make a grave tombstone for your famous mathematician.

As you work on this activity, you will access internet sites to gather the information that you need.

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The Process

To accomplish the task, you will:

  1. Choose a famous mathematician who is deceased.  Find one that was born on your birthday.  If you can't find one with your birthday, then find one whose last name starts with the same letter that your last name starts with.  Sign up your mathematician with your math teacher.
  2. Write a eulogy on the famous mathematician. Check out several web sites to gather as much information as you can about the famous mathematician for the eulogy. Include as many interesting facts as you can find about them and topics in mathematics for which they were famous.
  3. Write an obituary for this famous mathematician.  An obituary is usually written in paragraph form and charts the life of the deceased in chronological order.  Make sure that you include in the obituary as many of the things that are usually in an obituary that you can, including a picture of them.  The picture cannot be in the form of a postage stamp, like the ones included on this page.
  4. Make a grave tombstone for your chosen mathematician.  Include an epitaph, along with date of birth and date of death.  The tombstone must be at least 18 inches tall.  The width has no requirements.

Make sure that in the eulogy you include the mathematician's full name, place and date of birth, important contributions to mathematics, and interesting facts about them.  When you write the obituary, use one out of a newspaper or search an online site for ones to use as a guide.

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Each activity will be graded based on:

PROJECT DUE DATE: See your teacher for the date.



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I hope that you have learned a lot of interesting and informational facts about a mathematician.  I also hope that as you worked on this activity, that you gained an appreciation for mathematicians as well as mathematics.

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Credits & References

Graphics are from "Images of Mathematicians on Postage Stamps" web site, 
URL: http://members.tripod.com/jeff560/stamps.html