Math  Intermediate
There are no specific theories attributed to Aboriginal people but does not mean Aboriginal people did not use math. Aboriginal people used principals of math to build longhouses, pit houses and other structures. Principles of math are present in weavings, carvings and other art work. Math was used to determine the amount of food needed to feed people attending a potlatch or celebration.
Canoes were an important form of transportation for Aboriginal people on the west coast. A canoe carver apprenticed along a community or family member. To create a canoe the master would know math concepts related to symmetry, body proportions, weight, volume, and density. The master would know the type of trees to harvest, how to fall a tree and protocols related to harvesting. The master likely used non standard measurements to design the canoe.
Key is integrating Aboriginal content and perspectives in math requires the use of authentic resources . If the concept is to teach sorting, and sorting buttons is your activity, relate it to button blankets. Understand the protocols around button blankets. Which Aboriginal community used and still uses button blankets as part of their regalia? What would have been an authentic activity in the preparation of making a button blanket (e.g. women would have sorted shells, by size and type to place on the button blanket). This link provides information about the history of the button blanket (it is a lesson plan for older students but the information in it would be useful for a primary teacher.
Coast Salish Weaving  math
Canoes were an important form of transportation for Aboriginal people on the west coast. A canoe carver apprenticed along a community or family member. To create a canoe the master would know math concepts related to symmetry, body proportions, weight, volume, and density. The master would know the type of trees to harvest, how to fall a tree and protocols related to harvesting. The master likely used non standard measurements to design the canoe.
Key is integrating Aboriginal content and perspectives in math requires the use of authentic resources . If the concept is to teach sorting, and sorting buttons is your activity, relate it to button blankets. Understand the protocols around button blankets. Which Aboriginal community used and still uses button blankets as part of their regalia? What would have been an authentic activity in the preparation of making a button blanket (e.g. women would have sorted shells, by size and type to place on the button blanket). This link provides information about the history of the button blanket (it is a lesson plan for older students but the information in it would be useful for a primary teacher.
Coast Salish Weaving  math
grey_weaving_bag_instructions.docx  
File Size:  93 kb 
File Type:  docx 


Some Links:
Integrating Aboriginal Culture with Mathematics K  12  document created by SD 70. This is an older resource but still has lots of really good ideas.
Aboriginal Perspectives  great ideas for infusing math relating to videos. Includes lesson plans, powerpoints
Some interesting lesson ideas to infuse Aboriginal content into math for grades 46
Math games with Aboriginal Content
NEW  > Want to see an amazing unit on Bentwood Boxes from the Tlingit? click here!
Lesson Ideas from UBC's Aboriginal Math Symposium
Bentwood Box template
Integrating Aboriginal Culture with Mathematics K  12  document created by SD 70. This is an older resource but still has lots of really good ideas.
Aboriginal Perspectives  great ideas for infusing math relating to videos. Includes lesson plans, powerpoints
Some interesting lesson ideas to infuse Aboriginal content into math for grades 46
Math games with Aboriginal Content
NEW  > Want to see an amazing unit on Bentwood Boxes from the Tlingit? click here!
Lesson Ideas from UBC's Aboriginal Math Symposium
 Make a quarter bag (Coast Salish weaving, patterns, measurement)
 Permuted Art (using Aboriginal art)
 Exploring Bentwood Boxes  a lesson adapted from Tluuwaay Waadluxan Mathematical Adventures
 Looking at Expanding patterns: Hand out 1, Hand out 2, Hand out 3
Bentwood Box template
Books relating to Math and Aboriginal culture and perspectives:
Tluuwaay "Waadluxan Mathematical Adventures (available through ARC)
Gina 'Waadluxan Tluu The Everything Canoe (available through ARC)
The following quote is from Reg Davidson. A Haida carver who is featured in the two texts listed above. His quote shows the importance of mathematics in the work he does.
"Mathematics is a tool we use in almost everything we do in our daily life. As a Haida artist, I often work on large objects that need scale drawings. For a 30 foot canoe I worked on in San Francisco, I measured the log and then divided it by 10. This day I was able to make a model canoe at a 10 to 1 scale. After the model was done the process was reversed and I measured the model then multiplied by 10 to find the measurements on the log for the canoe. I use this same process when I am carving large totem poles" (Reg Davidson).
Samples lessons from Mathematical Adventures:
 Raven and the First Peoples: this problem is based on the Haida creation story. The Raven and the First Men in which Raven discovers the first Haida inside a clam shell on the beach. Math concepts: numbers to 20.
 Canoe Travelling.: There are many ways of travelling on Haida Gwaii. Look at travelling by car, by boat and school bus. Calculate the estimated time it would take to travel from one end of the island to the other using each mode of transportation.
 Berry Gathering: Your family is having a potlatch. About 220 people are coming. You will need about 250 g of berries per person. It takes about an hour to pick 1000g. How long will it take you to pick enough berries for all the potlatch guests?
Math in a Cultural Context: Lessons Learned from Yup'ik Eskimo Elders. Although these books are American resources, teachers could use them as references to generate ideas on how to embed Aboriginal perspectives and content into math. ARC has two of these resources. Please contact Nadine McSpadden or Heidi Wood to sign out these books.
 Building a Fish Rack: investigations into Proof, Properties, Perimeter and Area (Grade 6)
 Drying Salmon: journeys into Proportional and PreAlgebraic Thinking (Grade 6/7)
 Designing Patterns: investigating shape and area (Grade 35)
 Picking Berries: investigating data collection, graphing and measuring
 Patterns and Parkas: exploring shapes and patterns and measurement
Mayan Mathematics  this is a great website that provides a historical look at mathematics and attributes the concept of zero being introduced by the Mayan.
Canoe Designs  for Haida Dugout Canoe and Salish Canoe.
Make a beaded Flower
How does a beaded flower relate the math?
 explore patterns (increasing and decreasing)
 explore sorting (by colour)
 explore estimation (how many beads will it take to make 6 flowers based on the pattern  see pattern below)
Download the pattern by clicking here.
 explore patterns (increasing and decreasing)
 explore sorting (by colour)
 explore estimation (how many beads will it take to make 6 flowers based on the pattern  see pattern below)
Download the pattern by clicking here.