You are here

Divisibility Tests: A History and User's Guide - Conclusion, Acknowledgments, and About the Author

Eric L. McDowell (Berry College)


Tests for divisibility have a rich history, and while modern technology has diminished their apparent practicality, their ongoing popularity is evidenced by their continued appearance in the literature.  There's a captivating mystique to answering questions about numbers by playing games with their digits.  Educators have an opportunity to capitalize on this allure by using divisibility tests as an entertaining "hook" to encourage students to learn about place value, congruence, various base systems, etc.  After all, who doesn't want to understand how a favorite magic trick works?  From this vantage point, divisibility tests have a continued practical use as a captivating pedagogical tool for teaching serious mathematics.  We hope your students will enjoy learning the lessons that these tests have to offer, and that their enhanced understanding will lead them to experience the delight of mathematical creation.


The author expresses his gratitude to Mr. William (Matt) Leonard, Dr. Greg Richardson, Dr. Janet Beery and the referees for valuable comments which helped to improve this article.

About the Author

Eric McDowell is a professor of Mathematics at Berry College near Rome, Georgia.  He has published a number of articles in his research area of continuum theory, but his more recent papers have been pedagogical.  Eric enjoys singing, and acting in community theatre, and writes songs about mathematical topics that he produces with his students.  ("The Derivative Rag" and other videos can be found on YouTube.)  He lives in Rome with his wife, Jackie.

Eric L. McDowell (Berry College), "Divisibility Tests: A History and User's Guide - Conclusion, Acknowledgments, and About the Author," Convergence (May 2018)