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Invited Paper Session Abstracts - Strategies to Synergize Culture in the Learning and Doing of Mathematics

Saturday, August 4, 1:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m., Plaza Ballroom E, Plaza Building

How do we embed various cultures into the learning and doing of mathematics? What are the ways that we can enhance the learning of mathematics through culturally-responsive teaching? Mathematics grounded in the African American, Latinx, and Native American traditions as well as other international traditions can stimulate connections and a sense of belonging in the mathematical community. Presenters will provide implementable strategies to synergize culture in the learning and the doing of mathematics. By infusing various cultures into our mathematics, we enhance the learning experience as well as broaden the inclusion of those doing mathematics.

Talitha Washington, Howard University and the National Science Foundation

Importance of Culture in Indigenous Learning of Mathematics

1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.
Bob Megginson, University of Michigan

This presentation will focus on the importance of culture in the learning and doing of mathematics in particular indigenous groups. Examples will be given from indigenous cultures of the Western Hemisphere and New Zealand.

Using Computer Modeling to Integrate Culture & Mathematics

2:00 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.
Jacqueline Leonard

Focus on the intersectionality of computer science, 21stcentury skills, and information and communications technology (ICT) to prepare students for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce is a national priority. Research has shown strong evidence that computer modeling and coding can motivate student learning and broaden opportunities in STEM. Likewise, research has shown the benefits of computing as a pathway to develop computational thinking (CT) skills. Computer modeling provides all students with opportunities to learn CT through real-world applications that may be connected seamlessly to students’ culture. In this session, the results to a STEM summer camp on computer modeling within the cultural and place-based context of Yellowstone National Park will be shared with participants.

Diary of a Black Mathematician: From Research I to Liberal Arts

2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.
Edray Goins, Pomona College

Last year I made the transition from a Research I University to a Liberal Arts College. In this presentation, I’ll outline the reasons why I made the switch, give some stories about my first impressions of the differences in institutions, and discuss how my life as an African American mathematician has changed.

Rehumanizing Mathematics: Should That Be Our Goal?

3:00 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.
Rochelle Gutiérrez, University of Illinois

For far too long, we have embraced an "equity" standpoint that has been poorly defined (Gutiérrez, 2002) or constantly shifting (NCTM, 2008). It has been difficult to assess progress beyond closing the achievement gap or recruiting more diverse students into the mathematical sciences. Instead, we should rehumanize mathematics, which considers not just access and achievement, but the politics in teaching and mathematics. This approach begins with 1) acknowledging some of the dehumanizing experiences in mathematics for students and teachers and 2) how students could be provided with windows and mirrors onto the world and ways of relating to each other with dignity. As such, we can begin to think differently about student misconceptions, teachers as identity workers, and why it is not just that diverse people need mathematics but mathematics needs diverse people (Gutiérrez, 2002; 2012). In this talk, I present eight dimensions of a rehumanized mathematics experience: participation/positioning; cultures/histories; windows/mirrors; living practice; broadening mathematics; creation; body/emotions; and ownership. Then, I offer ways for mathematicians and mathematics educators to take risks in ensuring those dimensions happens in small and large ways.