# Rene Descartes: Mathematician & Philosopher

Rene Descartes was born on March 31, 1596. He’s considered the father of modern philosophy and he was an accomplished mathematician. I chose to feature Descartes because I thought it would be a perfect tie in to some fun math lessons.

**You may best know his influence if you’ve ever graphed a line or a conic section!** He developed the Cartesian coordinate system which allows you to place a point in space as a set of numbers- on the x and y axis. Sound familiar?

**He is considered the father of analytical geometry- the bridge between algebra and geometry which ultimately gave way to calculus.** I suppose I have him to thank for years of analytical geometry and calculus…deep breath…

We’ve often had discussions over the years about graphing. E14 just finished Advanced Algebra and spent a good deal of time graphing conic sections- hyperbolas, parabolas, etc.

**Today I encouraged J7 to enter some data points into Excel so he could generate a graph.** This was not a line graph data set, but we did talk about why it couldn’t be one- here he graphed the frequency of the letters of the alphabet in a selection of writing. E and T win the day!

**Another tip, when you are teaching a concept in math, it’s a great idea for students to find out about the person behind the concept. What a great starting point for a math journal entry…explaining who the mathematician was and all about the concepts he discovered.**

If you want to see what other birthdays iHN bloggers are celebrating, please visit Birthday Lessons in March.

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