Math Catcher

Math Catcher are stories/movies that you can use in your classroom to promote math:

  • Small Number Counts to 100. Boring task instead will be like this. When you divide number 100 with number 7 which is remainder? The story can be shown to elementary school students as a counting practice/puzzle or as a pattern recognition problem. For high school students it can be a way to introduce arithmetic progressions, modular addition, or an idea of number systems with a base different than 10.
  • Small Number and Old Canoe. The idea behind this approach is to give the moderator a few openings to introduce or emphasize various mathematical objects, concepts and terminology.  The aim of the question is to lead to an introduction at an intuitive level of the concept of a function and the essence of the principle of inclusion-exclusion as a counting technique. Is is also opportunity to appreciate that in order to understand a math question, one often needs to read (or watch) a problem more than once.
  • Small Number and Basketball Tournament. Small Number demonstrates how a basic understanding of combinatorics can help in all aspects of life, even basketball!
  • Small Number and Scateboard Park. Geometry problem solved by Full Angle.
  • Small Number and Salmon Harvest.
  • Small Number and the Big Tree.
  • Small Number and the Old Totem Pole. There is a similar story song and poem about huge sugar beet whom trying to pull out grandfather, grandmother, granddaughter, doggie and kitty. Unsuccessfully. Finally mouse help them to pull out beet.

Aboriginal peoples in Canada are the indigenous peoples within the boundaries of present-day Canada. They comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Although “Indian” is a term still commonly used in legal documents, the descriptors “Indian” and “Eskimo” have somewhat fallen into disuse in Canada and are sometimes considered pejorative.

The performance of Aboriginal students in British Columbia (Canada) for the last five years has been significantly lower than the performance of non-Aboriginal students :

  • As early as grade 4, Aboriginal students lag behind their non-Aboriginal classmates by about 20% in their performance on the Foundation Skills Assessment in numeracy.
  • By grade 10, the gap widens and only 47% of Aboriginal students fulfill the expectations in numeracy, compared to 77% of non-Aboriginal students
  • 2% of BC’s Aboriginal population completes Principles of Mathematics 12 compared to a completion rate of 25% for the whole BC population

Can you find similarity with your country? Tell your story.

The project Math Catcher: Mathematics Through Aboriginal Storytelling is an outcome of the BIRS supported First Nations Math Education Workshop from 2009.

During the workshop, Veselin Jungic (former Yugoslavia) and Mark MacLean co-wrote a story, Small Number Counts to 100, which served as the cornerstone project.

To promote mathematics among Aboriginal learners they have created a series of stories with mathematical themes. These stories are based on the storytelling tradition of Aboriginal peoples. The fact that all of stories have been translated into several Aboriginal languages is probably the biggest recognition.

The Program is based on the belief that it is crucial to engage Aboriginal students in mathematics and science at the early age.

Program aims are to promote mathematics and scholarship in general by encouraging elementary and high school students to recognize how math is used in everyday life and how it forms the basis for many of our daily decisions and life-long choices. The storytelling, pictures, models, and hands-on activities encourage young people to enjoy math and help dispel myths that math is boring and abstract.

Again, can you find similarity with your country?

Prepared by Danilo Borovnica.

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About DaNe

Math teacher and IT expert with nearly 30 years of experience with interest in math, astronomy, life long learning, dance, music.
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