Decolonizing Math Education: Dr. Ruth Beatty and Colleagues’ Research Recognized

A research project focused on decolonizing math education by Dr. Ruth Beatty (Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Orillia) and co-researchers Colinda Clyne (Anishinaabe kwe and Curriculum Lead for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education for the Upper Grand District School Board) and Christina Ruddy (Algonquin artist and ethnomathematician) is featured on the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) website.

The project, which includes Indigenous artists and educators from local communities, connects Indigenous art forms including beading, birch bark basket-making and moccasin-making with mathematical concepts such as algebraic, proportional, and spatial reasoning. To date, more than 1,000 students across Ontario have participated in the work, and the project has expanded to include Saskatchewan and Manitoban communities.

The project has received three levels of funding from SSHRC (an Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grant, a Connection Grant, and an Insight Development Grant) and received Lakehead University’s Community Engaged Research and Indigenous Partnership Research awards. You can read the story of their project, and how they are supporting learners by honouring Indigenous mathematical knowledge and practices, here: “What We Can Learn from Indigenous Teaching Methods.”

Pictured below: Grade 3 students at Eganville and District Public School show their beadwork projects, in which they learned about the relationships between wrist measurements, bead size and pattern dimensions, and how to make adjustments to get desired results.