Dancing Numbers! Traditional Uses of Mathematics in American Indian Cultures and Applications in Today’s Classrooms

Date:  Sunday January 13, 2013
Speaker:  James Barta

James Barta, an associate professor at Utah State University began teaching over 30 years ago. He has taught throughout the United States and in several countries worldwide. He does research in the area of Ethnomathematics, which the relationships between math and cultures. His primary focus is on indigenous cultures and he is currently working with Mayan teachers in the Highlands of Guatemala. He is a teacher educator in the Four Corners region of Utah working to develop American Indian (Navajo and Ute) teachers. He believes our instruction should help students “dance with the numbers” for them to realize their full mathematical potential.

“American Indian populations have used mathematics throughout history to solve the challenges they face. Jim will present ideas and activities to illustrate how we can help children (and ourselves) become more confident and capable in mathematics.”

Speaker Suggested References and Resources:
It takes a village: Culturally Responsive Professional Development and Creating Professional Learning Communities in Guatemala by Barta, J. & Orey,D. (2009) Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership, 10(2), 3-9.
Mathematics in the Milpa: Culturally Relevant Mathematics Instruction in a Mayan Village by Barta J. (2009), Teaching Children Mathematics, 16(2), 3-9.
The Mathematical Ways of an Aboriginal People: The Northern Ute by Barta, J. & Shockey, T. (2006), Journal of Mathematics and Culture, 1(1), 79-89.
The Mathematical Ecology of the Shoshoni: Implications for Elementary Mathematics Education by Barta, J., Abeyta, A., Gould, D., Galindo, E., Matt, G., Seaman, D., & Voggesser, G. (2001), Journal of American Indian Education.
Mathematical Enculturation by Alan Bishop.
Voices of Native American Educators, University Press of America, Inc., Lanham, MD.
Culturally Responsive Mathematics Education, Routledge Publishing, Oxford, UK.
Changing Faces In Mathematics: Indigenous People, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Alexandria, VA.