What are the origins of Computing?
I guess we could go way back but for me, I was astounded to see this set of Napier's Bones (shown on the right) really was the world’s first practical calculator, one that could multiply, divide and find square roots. It was invented during the latter part of the 16th century by John Napier's (1550 – 4 April 1617). You can really see the links between computing and maths here as well (great for cross curricular links!)
It is amazing to thing that this method was devised nearly 500 years ago.
I use this when I am teaching the history of computing just to show how difficult things used to be (so it really needs to be rooted in the context of the time when many people couldn't even multiply 5 X 5) and was a way that merchants and planners (there must have been many military applications) could forecast and manage resources.
My blank template can be accessed here so just print it out and get the students to fill it in with the numbers for each multiplication table and follow the explanations (YouTube videos are below).
Just for your information, John Napier also invented Logarithms so was one of the very early thinkers that directly contributed to the field of Computer Science.
To access all my teaching and learning resources, please click here
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