Culturally sensitive math book published

  • Feb. 4, 2012 10:00 a.m.

By Jane Wilson–A new book aims to bring island culture to students’ math studies.”Tluuwaay “Waadluxan Mathematical Adventures” uses stories and quotes from “Gina ‘Waadluxan Tluu: The Everything Canoe” to suggest math problems such as estimating a canoes weight or determining the speed of a current.The book was three years in the making and came out of a course offered by Dr. Cynthia Nicol on culturally responsive math, and work with the Haida Gwaii museum, said Principal of Aboriginal Education, Joanne Yovanovich. “They were really working hard at making the museum school-friendly, or usable, without too much staffing,” she said. “Trying to build a curriculum so that when kids went there to visit from schools, they would have a program that was easy to do.”The book is intended for teachers of all grades said Ms Yovanovich. “A math teacher teaching math 12 can use concepts in that book, as well as a kindergarden teacher, that’s what our hope is. Our other hope is that people will look at this and think about they can add more everyday cultural components into their everyday teaching. We’ve moved away from May being Haida month, to having things happen all throughout the year, and it’s better than just one blitz.”Ms Yovanovich said the initial response from children has been good. “I showed it to some kids in Tahayghen,” she said “and this one boy was ‘Hey, I know this, I know this!’ and the picture of Reggie Davidson he said, “I know him, I know him!’ and kept patting me and saying, ‘Hey, this is in Skidegate!’ He was just excited and that’s what we hoped that there would be some excitement. We do know that designing things around our culture is more time-consuming, but we still hope people will invest the time into doing it.” The book is published bySchool District 50 and UBC.Ms Yovanovich said they are also producing a picture book, “Seeing Mathematics in Haida Gwaii” in the next year.