Article Summary

The History of the Concept of Function and Some Educational Implications  PDF

Vol. 3, No. 2

This article explores the development of the function concept in mathematics beginning with Oresme in the 13th century and continuing through modern day applications. The author demonstrates that the function concept originated from an attempt to describe geometric curves algebraically and from an attempt to accurately describe physical phenomena. The author then classifies three primary directions the concept of function has developed: the algebraic, the numeric, and the graphic (or geometric). He argues that in schools a numerical approach to functions with a use of technology both follows in a broad sense the historical development of the function concept and also builds on students’ previous arithmetic skills.

Last modified: 30 July 2012.
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