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Mayan Math is rediscovered and taught in Yucatecan schools

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Detail of Codex Dresdensis drawn by Lacambalam. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A form of calculation that made the ancient Mayans so successful has been rediscovered and is now being taught to their descendants in the classroom.

Mayan Math, as it is known, made the mathematicians of the long-lost civilization some of the most advanced of their time.

The system has even made its way into a Mayan math game at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.


And in Yucatán, in a classroom in remote Kanxoc, students learn how to do simple arithmetic using beans, sticks and pasta shells on a simple grid.

“We’ve seen very good results because of how simple the method is,” Silivia Febles, the principal at the village primary school, told a reporter for CGTN. “The childrens’ first language is Mayan, and class is conducted in Mayan, so it makes things far easier than conducting lessons in Spanish.”

The method was rediscovered by Dr. Luis Fernando Magaña, a physics professor at Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM). He has trained Yucatecan teachers to introduce their students to Mayan Math.

“It’s a brilliant, intelligent and practical methodology,” he said, while calculating for the square-root of two using Mayan Math on his office chalkboard. “But it’s also so simple that it can be practiced on a dirt floor with minimal resources.”

Teachers said that kids take pride in learning Mayan Math.

Source: China Global Television Network

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