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History of Mathematics



Carl Friedrich Gauss, Mathematician
Print Carl Friedrich Gauss, Mathematician Reading Comprehension with Sixth Grade Work

Print Carl Friedrich Gauss, Mathematician Reading Comprehension


Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.53

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    second-highest, second-lowest, uneducated, best, astronomy, mathematical, mathematics, unit, lifetime, lowest, multiplied, magnetic, measurement, method, scientific, instance
     content words:    Carl Friedrich Gauss, Wonder Child
Carl Friedrich Gauss, Mathematician

By Cindy Grigg
1     Carl Friedrich Gauss made many discoveries in mathematics, astronomy, and physics. A magnetic unit of measurement is named for him. Gauss was born on April 30, 1777, in Brunswick, now part of Germany. His parents were uneducated, working class people. It was clear at an early age that Carl was a "Wonder Child." At the age of two, he taught himself the alphabet and could read aloud. At the age of three, he corrected a mistake his father had made in adding a list of numbers on paper. Carl had added them correctly in his head.
 
2     Another famous story about Carl's amazing mathematical ability happened when he was in third grade. His teacher, to keep Carl busy, told him to add all the numbers from one to one hundred. He expected this would keep the seven-year-old Carl busy for some time. To his teacher's amazement, Carl had the correct answer in just a few minutes! Would you like to learn Carl's secret?
 
3     Carl noticed that he could pair the numbers, and each pair of numbers had the same sum. For instance, one plus one hundred is one hundred one. Two plus ninety-nine is one hundred one. Three plus ninety-eight is one hundred one. Then he realized he would have fifty pairs of numbers whose sum was one hundred one. Then he could multiply fifty times one hundred one to get the sum of all the numbers from one to one hundred. The answer is 5,050.

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