First Nations Math Education I (07w5504)


Melania Alvarez Adem (University of British Columbia)

Genevieve Fox (Siksika Board OF Education)

(University of Calgary)

Joanne Nakonechny (University of British Columbia)


Elders from different First Nations, as well as mathematicians and teachers, are invited to attend the “First Nations Math Education” workshop hosted at the Banff International Research Station in the week of December 2 - 7, 2007. Through various sessions, mathematicians will work with the elders to extract explicitly the mathematical knowledge of their traditional ways. Participants will demonstrate how mathematics is implicitly and explicitly a part of Aboriginal traditional knowledge.

The main goal of the workshop is to create lessons that could be used in the current mathematics curriculum which would reflect Aboriginal knowledge. Teachers can learn more mathematics through these math enrichment workshops and to become more in-tune with Aboriginal cultures and traditional ways of knowledge and learning. They will be able to implement lessons in the classrooms where all children, not just Aboriginal children, can see how mathematics is used and developed, as a part of Aboriginal cultures as well. Aboriginal children will see themselves and their culture reflected in the curriculum. Math, as one of the main subjects, could be a powerful way to initiate changes in the curriculum across the provinces, where Aboriginal culture has been overlooked. The First Nations Elders can see the mathematics in their teachings and activities, and to use the new knowledge to pass onto the next generation. Mathematicians can hopefully have new insights in their own research from new ways of looking at development of mathematics. Teachers, Elders and Mathematicians should benefit from this workshop.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the US National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).