Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Teaching Math Through Culture

I recently learned about the work of Dr. Ron Eglash at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Eglash has done a lot of research of the occurrences of fractals and mathematical functions in cultural designs. Based on that research Dr. Eglash has developed some very interesting materials for teaching mathematics through culture. The program Dr. Eglash has developed is called Culturally Situated Design Tools. It contains fourteen units of study based around instances of mathematics concepts, including fractals, basic Algebra, and Geometry concepts occurring in cultural designs. The units of study can be used with middle school and high school students. The resource page for teachers provides some additional resources and background information.

Applications for Education
When creating interdisciplinary units math is often the most difficult content area to include. Through his Dr. Eglash has done the hard work for math and social studies teachers. The units of study in Culturally Situated Design Tools provide fourteen opportunities to integrate math into the teaching of culture and culture into math.