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Accueil > Archives > Ancients projets de recherche > Anthropologie des mathématiques > Version anglaise > Seminars > Brainstorming team on Ethnomathematics > December 06 : Ethnomathematics and pedagogy

December 06 : Ethnomathematics and pedagogy

Report on the meeting of the REHSEIS ethnomathetmatics seminar held on 13/12/06 :

"Ethnomathematics and pedagogy : the question of string figures "

This meeting was based on four articles :

  • The learning of geometry by the inuit, a problem of mathematical acculturation (Richard Pallasio, Richard Allaire, Louise Lafortune, Pierre Mongeau)
  • Yup’ik culture and everyday experience as a base for school mathematics (Jerry Lipka)
  • Teaching mathematics skills with string figures (Gelvin Stevenson, James R. Murphy)

He explains that he must make pedagogical cards in Vanuatu, that can be consequently used in regional schools. He has thought up two activities : one consists in working out ideas of symmetry by looking at how, when one reverses the roles of the small fingers and the thumbs in the algorithm which leads to a simple figure, one obtains a figure which changes by an axial symmetry. We try to reproduce the exercise of Eric Vandendriessche with greaty difficulty, but it is well understood that it is addressed to people who are accustomed to doing such activities. Sophie Desrosiers stresses that there are other forms of symmetries and asymmetries like that of the two hands used. Catherine Nowak finds this very complicated to introduce the simple idea of an axial symmetry in two dimensions. Eric Vandendriessche explains that according to his discussions with a teacher in Vanuatu, pupils had a hard time with plane geometry and were more at ease with the 3d, therefore it would be perhaps a manner of facilitating their access to it. Catherine Nowak evokes a work with pupils which consisted in making them cut fruits in two : there were different ways to cut one fruit and to observe the symmetries thus created. Another activity suggested by Eric consists in working with the symbolization created by Thomas Storer, who died regrettably in November before Eric and he could meet, and to see how it applies to the figures, in the way Murphy describes such activities. Agathe is convinced that that helps to understand the concrete and at the same time formal aspect of symbolic systems.