Indigenous Mathematizing

Indigenous languages are verb-based, whereas Western languages are noun-based. This fundamental difference in cultural worldviews is respected by the use of the term “mathematizing” (a verb). It is exemplified by activities in which counting, measuring, locating, designing, playing, or explaining quantitatively occur within an Indigenous culture. It is imperative that teachers understand Indigenous lesson plans must be considered holistically. That means that the Indigenous teachings and intentions that are part of the language and culture must be considered. Non-Indigenous teachers should consider consulting Indigenous advisors to ensure that the integrity of the content is not unintentionally lost or compromised.

Digital Resources and Lesson Plans

Link Synopsis Curricular Connection Indigenous Mathematizing and Ways of Knowing
Aboriginal Perspectives (University of Regina)
  • The Aboriginal Perspectives web site contains information that will aid teachers in including Aboriginal perspectives in their lessons.
  • Video material featuring Aboriginal people and cultural activities as a base for constructing teaching resources and we invite teachers to use these resources. We also encourage teachers to use this video material to construct their own lessons.
  • Examples of  workshops with teachers from grades 3 to 6 to help them include an Aboriginal perspective in their mathematics lessons. 
  • On this web site are the lessons, background material on the Aboriginal themes for the lessons, and a description of the material in the kits that the teachers received at the workshops.
  • Included is a collection of Aboriginal games which provide a rich source of material for the construction of lessons.
Stealing the Sun 
  • First Nations and Stereotypes in math (6 lessons in total, Gr. 6)
  • Surface Area and Rectangular Prisms
  • After reading about the creation stories of two Aboriginal groups, learners will be informed that they will present these stories to their reading pairs, via dramatic performance. However, they need props to contribute to the performance, so they will make the props in math class. learners must create sketches of their rectangle, and figure out how big the surface area of the rectangle needs to be. While each learner will create their own rectangle, learners will work in groups and record their findings on chart paper.
Stereotypes by Numbers 
  • First Nations and Stereotypes in math (6 lessons in total, Gr.  6)
  • To engage learners in data collection and representation for real world purposes such as investigating issues of representation of Aboriginal peoples in the school library
  • Collect and organize discrete or continuous primary data and secondary data and display the data in charts, tables, and graphs that have appropriate titles, labels and scales that suit the range and distribution of the data, using a variety of tools
  • Select an appropriate type of graph to represent a set of data, graph the data using technology, and justify the choice of graph
  • Read, interpret and draw conclusions from primary data and from secondary data presented in charts, tables and graphs
  • Calls into question/disputes the racism towards Indigenous cultures implied by the number of samples of misrepresentative info found in reference material.
Following Their Voices
  • Following Their Voices is an initiative that is designed to improve First Nations, Métis and Inuit learner outcomes by engaging and supporting learners through changes in learner-teacher relationships and interactions, teacher instructional practices and the learning environment.
Following Their Voices is part of the Education Sector Strategic Plan.
  •  Success will be measured by increases in learner engagement;
  • participation;
  • credit attainment; and
  • graduation rates.
  • Twenty three Elders and Knowledge Keepers (Cree, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Dene, Métis and Nakawe) have been engaged and involved in Elders’ Gatherings, provincial professional learning and development sessions, Leadership Team meetings and in focus group committees to support the implementation and development of Following Their Voices.
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