Site Admin »
Member Login »
Feature Story
“There’s math in your culture, you know? You have math in your blood.” Like Jaime Escalante in a scene from Stand and Deliver, Dr. Luis Ortiz-Franco connected his audience to the subject of his presentation, “Pre-Hispanic Mathematics and Culture in Mesoamerica.” The lecture, which is part of the Chapman Visiting Scholars Series, introduced Nicholas Academic Centers’ students to ethnomathematics, the study of the cultural dimensions of the teaching and learning of mathematics. Specifically, Dr. Ortiz-Franco’s presentation focused on the cultural and mathematical contributions of three Mesoamerican civilizations: The Olmec, the Mayas, and the Aztec.
 
Although scholars continue to debate Olmec influence on other Mesoamerican cultures, many maintain that the Olmec, identified by some as the Zoque, were the first major civilization in Mexico. Of their many contributions, one of the most notable is the development of the concept of zero. Although other civilizations also developed the concept of zero, independent of the Olmec, Dr. Ortiz-Franco cites the Olmec as having been the first in Mesoamerica. According to Dr. Ortiz-Franco, “The Olmec were the first civilization in Mesoamerica, the first people who came up with a very clever idea, that clever idea of zero.”
 
Dr. Ortiz-Franco noted that Mesoamerican societies used their mathematical knowledge to great effect, creating calendars, designing architecture, and even building roads. Without the use of advanced technology, early Mesoamerican civilizations also tracked movements of the moon, stars, and planets. Dr. Ortiz-Franco remarked that between the three separate civilizations, the Aztec were the least developed because their domination in Mesoamerica lasted only 200 years, whereas the Olmec and Maya civilizations lasted much longer; however, each civilization offered notable contributions, including unique systems for counting.
 
Click HERE to read the full story.

 

   
Current News & Events
Pre-Hispanic Mathematics & Culture Add Up to Deeper Understanding of Numerical Systems
“There’s math in your culture, you know? You have math in your blood.” Like Jaime Escalante in a scene from Stand and Deliver, Dr. Luis Ortiz-Franco connected his audience...
Chapman Professor, Dr. Jason Keller, Connects Global Conditions Using Two Simple Reactions
The Chapman Visiting Scholars Series returned to the Nicholas Academic Centers on Saturday, September 27, with Dr. Jason Keller’s presentation, “Everything You Need to Know About...
Chandra Jenkins, Former Assistant Director of Higher Ed Services, Begins Engaging College Students
NAC Class of 2013 alum Jackie Martinez remembers the goals she had before meeting Chandra Jenkins in 2010. She wanted to be famous and rich and she didn't know why. Now, Jackie notes, "I...
From Junior to Freshman, Karla Atcheson Gets an Early Start
Most high school students in the United States take an average of six classes per year and graduate in four years. Karla Atcheson, a Nicholas Academic Centers’ (NAC) Class of 2014 graduate,...
The Nicholas Academic Centers Celebrates the Graduation of 124 NAC Scholars in 2014
We’re proud to announce that we have successfully graduated another wonderful class of Nicholas Academic Centers’ Scholars! On Saturday, June 7, at the Newport Dunes Waterfront...