Can You Find These AWOL Math Websites?

by √oхέƒx™ via flickr

In the course of my bloggy spring cleaning, I’ve made some terrible discoveries. Some of my favorite resources have disappeared off the internet. Or perhaps they’ve moved, and I just haven’t found their new homes.

Do you know where these websites went?

A Very Short History of Mathematics

This irreverant romp through the history of mathematics by W. W. O. Schlesinger and A. R. Curtis was read to the Adams Society (St. John’s College Mathematical Society) at their 25th anniversary dinner, Michaelmas Term, 1948.

Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine found a copy, but I’d love to replace this link with the article’s new location:

[Warning: Do not attempt to read this article while drinking coffee or other spittable beverage!]

Update: James Clare found the article’s new home here. Thank you!

La Habra’s Math History Timeline

This timeline featured math discoveries, publications, and other tidbits — from paleolithic number bones to the present. I mentioned this in my earlier note, but I’ll repeat the request: If you know where this site went, please tell me.

Here are links to the Wayback Machine’s archive:

Word Problems in Russia and America

Apparently, the Wayback Machine does not archive pdf files. The original site of Toom’s “extended version” 159-page book has a link, but it goes nowhere.

In this case, however, there is good news. I found a “2010 update” version with only 98 pages, but it appears the difference is a matter of typeface and line spacing, not a cut in content:

I highly recommend this paper to anyone who is interested in teaching elementary math (or remedial math at higher grade levels). Consider this point, about the value of word problems:

The youngest children need some real, tangible tokens, which often are called manipulatives. That is why coin problems are so appropriate in elementary school. American educators enormously exaggerate importance of manipulatives in the literal sense, but don’t know what to do with older children. In a few years children’s imagination develops so that they can use imaginary or mental manipulatives … [T]he main educative value of word problems is that they serve as mental manipulatives, paving children’s road to abstract thinking.

Andrei Toom
Word Problems in Russia and America

This fits perfectly with my experience of teaching. It is through working a large number of varied, multi-step word problems that my students develop their number sense and ability to think abstractly. And the amazing thing is, word problems are easier for young children than just-plain-arithmetic calculations! Children can make a mental picture of the problem and apply common sense in a way they are not yet able to do with plain numbers.

So why do American elementary math programs have comparatively few word problems, and mostly pathetic one-step problems at that?

All Odd Numbers Are Prime

As I noted in the comments, I can’t get the joke page for All Odd Numbers Are Prime to load in my browser, and the Wayback Machine can’t find it either.

Wait… By using the “classic” version of the Wayback Machine, I was able to reach a 2008 version of the page:

Can anyone find the site’s current location?

Update: Yippee! The original is back! is loading properly as of 4/15/2011, and here’s hoping the glitch never comes back.

9 thoughts on “Can You Find These AWOL Math Websites?

  1. I am devouring Andrei Toom’s Word Problems in Russia and America. Thank you! I have e-mailed a request to the La Habra school to see if they can tell me why the timeline is “currently unavailable”. Your website is one of my favorites. I’m developing a plan for “Second Chance Math” groups this summer for students entering and in middle school. I have a list of ideas a mile long from the posts on this site. I plan to play a lot of math with the kids!

  2. Hi, Sue, and thank you for your kind words. If you do find out where they’ve put the timeline (or when they are planning to get it reposted), I’d love to hear about it!

  3. Another terrible loss: When MathCounts redesigned its website awhile back, they made it impossible to link to all the wonderful back-issues of their Problem of the Week puzzles.

    And Another: The joke page about All Odd Numbers Are Prime isn’t loading tonight. It worked fine a couple of weeks ago, so perhaps this is just a temporary glitch…

  4. The only link i can find about the History of maths timeline is they do say it’s unavailable but it doesn’t say why.

    A very short history of Mathematics

    Word problems in Russia and america. looking for the original one would be on the site that the guy who wrote it it is the 98 pages one, which looks like to be the only one that exists

    1. Yes, that’s the same link to Word Problems in Russia and America that I used to have. The new article seems to be exactly the same, with the shorter length resulting from changes in the font and line spacing. I posted the new link here primarily so that other bloggers might see it and update their posts, too.

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