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Slide Rules


Source Institutions

    Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

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Slide Rules

Learners make their own simple slide rules out of paper and learn how they work. The activity starts by having learners make an "adding slide rule," which is not a very practical device but is easier to understand than the more common but more complicated multiplication slide rule. The adding slide rule uses a simple scale, while the multiplication slide rule uses a logarithmic scale. Background information is included about the history of this elegant mathematical invention: how it was invented hundreds of years ago, and how it was used until the 1970s when calculators replaced them.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


  • rulers
  • Copies of Master A, “Slide Rule” (in PDF)
  • scissors
  • masking tape
  • 2 transparent rulers, or 2 metersticks
  • one copy of Master B, pictures of Oughtred, Napier and NASA “computers” (in PDF)
  • one overhead transparency with Master A copied on it

Subjects


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
      • Information Technology
    • Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Patterns
    • Number and Operations
      • Exponents
      • Multiples and Factors
      • Operations
    • Problem Solving
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and History
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, OMSI, ©2005

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation ESI, 0206403

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