First Nations Math Education (09w5078)


Melania Alvarez Adem (University of British Columbia)

Genevieve Fox (Siksika Board OF Education)

(University of Calgary)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "First Nations Math Education" workshop next week, November 22 - November 27, 2009.

At this meeting Elders from different First Nations will be invited to attend as well as mathematicians and teachers. Through various sessions, mathematicians will work with the elders to extract explicitly the mathematical knowledge of their traditional ways. We will demonstrate how mathematics is implicitly and explicitly a part of Aboriginal traditional knowledge.
Our main goal is to create lessons that could be used in the current mathematics curriculum, which would reflect Aboriginal knowledge.

Goals for the meeting:

For Teachers:

- To learn more mathematics through math enrichment workshops.

- To become more in-tune with Aboriginal cultures and traditional ways of knowledge and learning.

- To implement this information in the classroom where all children, not just Aboriginal children, can see how mathematics is used and developed and part of Aboriginal cultures as well.

- To use these lessons so that Aboriginal children see themselves and their culture reflected in the curriculum. Math, as one of the main subjects, could be a powerful way to start changes in the curriculum across the provinces, where Aboriginal culture has been mainly ignored.

For Elders:

- To see the mathematics in their teachings and activities.

- To use this new knowledge and pass it onto the next generation.

For Mathematicians:

- To become more in-tune with Aboriginal cultures and traditional ways of knowledge and learning.

- New ways of looking at how mathematics are developed could help some of them in their own research.

We want these meetings to become a process of learning and communication among aboriginals, teachers and mathematicians.

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).