Ethnomathematics is a broad term for the connection between Math and culture. School Math, and therefore how we view math in the general population, remains largely Eurocentric. Ideas that have been developed over thousands of years are often attributed to and shaped by largely white male mathematicians, although, if we take a closer look we see these ideas taking shape long before the birth of Mathematicians for whom the ideas are now named. In western society, we have a tendency to see math as fixed: There is one algorithm, one trajectory, one right answer. We are often shocked to see the complex and elegant ways that Math has been and continues to be used beyond our narrow view. It is important to encourage children to inquire beyond standardized mathematics in order to broaden their conceptual understandings, not only of Numeracy, but of the diversity of the world in which they live. Doing so will not only make them better mathematicians, but also better global citizens, allies, advocates and thinkers. This page is only a starting point for your own journey into a broader understanding of what math is and how it is used.
Teachers: Always remember to preview any resources for compatibility with the technology available AND compliance with your districts curriculum and privacy requirements, as well as appropriateness for your learners.
Grade level materials that go with the video here (click on your grade tab and scroll down to the video)
This is a video that I created with the support of my AbEd colleagues Nadine McSpadden and Heidi Wood. It introduces the basics of Coast Salish design and touches on the difference between Coast Salish and North Coast groups like the Haida. There are accompanying grade level materials on the Numeracy Support for Continuity of Learning site created by myself, Marc Garneau and Chris Hunter.
This site is curated by Nadine McSpadden, an Aboriginal Ed Helping Teacher in Surrey, British Columbia. It contains a wide range of information and activities for integrating indigenous practices and content. It is important to avoid appropriation of indigenous knowledge and culture by doing your own learning around the cultures you are bringing into the classroom, by connecting with your own land and indigenous leaders and elders and by avoiding tokenistic “one-off” type projects/lessons that do not connect to the living cultures.
This website is a STEM inquiry guide for both Elementary and Secondary that focuses a place based study of the Great Bear Sea. The materials focus on sustainability and traditional practices, as well as all areas of STEM in the BC curriculum.
This is from the University of British Columbia’s Indigenous Math Education Network. They hold a yearly symposium at the UBC longhouse. The website contains free lessons, ideas and downloads. It is important to avoid appropriation of indigenous knowledge and culture by doing your own learning around the cultures you are bringing into the classroom, by connecting with your own land and indigenous leaders and elders and by avoiding tokenistic “one-off” type projects/lessons that do not connect to the living cultures.
This is a downloadable resource from the First Nations Education Steering Committee in British Columbia, Canada. The FNESC site includes many resources for Indigenous content in the BC curriculum.
Nikki Lineham is the cofounder of Educating Now: the Art of Teaching Math. She has a background in inclusive learning and ethnomathematics. The links above will take you to her ethnomathematics page and a google doc for the google doc from her 2019 BCAMT Presentation on Integrating Ethnomath into the classroom.
The mission of TODOS: Mathematics for ALL is to advocate for equity and high quality mathematics education for all students— in particular, Latina/o students. The site contains information and professional development materials to support this mission.
This is an article by Peter Skillen about a project, developed in collaboration with Indigenous Communities. See Nelson’s On Demand Webinar Collection for videos for classrooms from this work. See my blog about the spin-off project I worked on with Peter and Nadine McSpadden.