Ethnomathematics and how we can use it today in our classroom.

The first things that we must do is define what it is. This blog is to help educators and other math people to share math in a culture context and learn how to apply it in their classroom.

What is ethnomathematics ?

The claim is mathematics is essential for mathematics education. Obiratan D'Ambrosia defined ethnomathematics as "the maths practiced among cultural groups such as national- tribal societies, labour groups, children of a certain bracket, professional classes and so on."

http://www.dm.unipi.it/~jama/ethno/

History has shown us that there are civilizations that has created their own way of counting and the number system.

Egypitians created their own hieroglyphics and their number system is shown in an image below. Below you can see that their number system ins based on the units of 10.

http://www.tony5m17h.net/decimalhier.gif

The Mayans are also a great example of a certain people who created a system of counting and are even the most famous. The mayans are known for their complex system calendars and the counting systems that are based on single number of units.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1b/Maya.svg/220px-Maya.svg.png

The thought of bringing in mathematics in the classroom builds and shows students that math is everywhere. Research has also shown that integrating it in the classroom can help teach students to find more meaningful part so of math in a non western civilizations.

Below is a link to an article that can show you one side of ethnomathematics and how it can be integrated in the classroom.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/23/magazine/23CRASH.html?pagewanted=al

The classroom is a great place to learn as you see students are reminded of what learning is about. This link below is a song that students are played to encourage them to learn and stay in school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQfZeuUb2bQ

School is changing and school is in need of integrating new ways to teach students.

I have found just a few videos that show how to teach kids these cultures. Mayans, Aborigines, Egyptians, and other cultures.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmZjPVT2M20&feature=related - Mayans Number System

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asM39tfblMQ - Walpiri Coutning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIo_InwDgcw - Indian Hindu Invention of Math



Presenting the material in the cultural context not just teaching history. it is teaching students in a different way that connects them to math. It is a teachers responsibility to show and to present her content to have students 1. connect and 2. have a clearer understanding of math in the real world and how it has and still will apply to our world around us.

Below are many sites that can and will help teachers develop lesson plans that are clear and are organized for implementation in the classroom.


Lesson Plans

1. Discovery Education-Lesson plans for K12. Includes lessons on Mayan calendar, Egyptian, Greek, & Islamic Numerals, Chinese Achievement.

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/lessonplans/math.html

2. International Study Group on Ethnomathematics - Syllabi for ethnomathematics courses.

http://www.rensselaer.edu/~eglash/isgem.dir/links.dir/syllabi.htm

3. Middle School Portal Discover Rescouces includes lesson plans for pre k-14

http://msteacher.org/return_list_math.aspx?id=474

4. Rosenfelder, M. - Number systems of the world. Numbers to 10 in 5000 languages

http://www.zompist.com/numbers.shtml

5. Tacoma Community College - Math 107 Math in society: Ethnomathematics. Couse materials

http://www.tacomacc.edu/home/jkellerm/MATH107EM/default.htm

6. Takasugi, S. - NUmber systems of the world. Numbers to 100 in 40 languages.

http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/~ts/language/number.html

7. Thirteen Master Teachers - Lesson plans grades 3-12

http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/lessons/index_math.html

8. Tides of Teachers- Contains some ethnomathematics lesson plans for elementary level

http://tides.sfasu.edu/Teachers/Tides/docs/LessonPlans/Elementary/socialPlans/BassWhereis.html

9. University of Tennessee- Math Lesson Plans

http://archives.math.utk.edu/k12.html#lessonplans

Ethnomathematics can be integrated in any subject and in any way. Geometry, Algebra and even in the elementary. There is on going research for these classes and for the implementation of ethnomathematics in the classroom.

The links below gives people's names and their focus of their role in the development of ethnomathematics. There are also links to moroe information and support that you as a teacher can use and find to help your classroom.


http://www.ethnomath.org/resources/ISGEm/074.htm - people who are supports and who do research for the development of ethnomathematics. This is the report that explores the progress of it today in our society.

http://mes3.learning.aau.dk/Papers/Baba.pdf -Significance of ethnomathematical research: Towards international cooperation with the developing countries written by Takuya Baba, Hiroshima University, Japan


In conclusion:

"We can easily find many reasons to integrate the common event of mathematics in the curriculum, therefore we can conclude that it is with significant value and practical implications in respect to the cultural differences between different races and we can explore their mathematical thinking.


China has a long history of culture and tradition from which we can find lots of contents to integrate into the mathematics curriculum. We can also provide good materials for mathematics curriculum after the mathematical knowledge and cultural connotations involved are carefully excavated (Zhang, 2007). Because of the different historical origins of different national cultures, the methods to estimate the endless roots in different cultures are quite flexible. Trying to introduce and comment on these diverse solving methods in the history from the viewpoint of multicultural mathematics, we can enrich the contents, increase the fun and reflect diversity while preparing the new mathematics textbooks to enhance students’ desire to explore the mathematical theories involved.


What’s more, mathematics in different cultures can also be shown to students to give them a rich background knowledge, which will help them share the results created by people of all ethnic groups, admire mathematical achievements with different mathematics cultural tradition and understand how calculating tools influence mathematics and people’s daily life. Then the aims of mathematics education under the multicultural viewpoint may be finally reached (Fu & Zhang, 2005).


To sum up the above arguments, just as what P. Gerdes says, integrating materials from different cultures into the curriculum, and then making correct evaluations of all students with different cultural backgrounds, as well as enhancing everyone’s confidence and learning to respect all ethnic groups and cultures, will be helpful in helping students adapt to an environment of 156Weizhong Zhang,Qinqiong Zhang157multiculture in the future (Gerdes, 1996). It has a certain rationality to integrate ethnomathematics and mathematics curriculum, and with the integration, the inherent mathematical value in special cultures and societies will be understood and respected."


http://educationforatoz.com/images/_12_Weizhong_Zhang_and_Qinqiong_Zhang.pdf