An Innovative Approach to Learning Mathematics in the Context of Cultural Pluralism

In this project we are developing a course entitled "Teaching Geometry in a Cultural Context" which will be delivered in the spring semester of 2008 at the Technion. In addition, we are preparing instructional materials that college student-mentors will use for teaching geometry in a cultural context in high school geometry and design classes. So far a 12-hour tentative curriculum has been developed and approved by the Ministry of Education. An instructional unit on "Rangolis – geometrical patterns in the Indian culture" has been published. Pilot teaching of the proposed curriculum is being conducted in three schools (Arab and Jewish) with the participation of school teachers and mathematics education students from the Technion.

Currently, the following educational projects are underway:

  • Computer aided design of ornaments (college math education students).
  • Geometric patterns in the Islamic culture (college math education students).
  • Ukrainian-Jewish cultural connections expressed in ornaments (college math education students).
  • Teaching geometry in the context of Indian ornaments at middle school (college math education students).
  • Pilot teaching of geometry in a cultural context at an Arab high school (teachers).
  • Pilot teaching of geometry in a cultural context at a Jewish middle school (teachers).

Some of the abovementioned projects are already at the stage of pilot implementation in schools. In parallel, two graduate studies are being conducted:

  • Khayriah Massarwe, a high school mathematics teacher, is doing her Ph.D. study on "Learning Geometry through Inquiry into Cultural Contexts".
  • Tatyana Nekritch, a design teacher, is conducting an M.Sc. study on "Social and Cultural Aspects in Design Education".

Findings from the study were presented in the conference "Academy - Community Partnership for Social Justice", Hebrew University, Jerusalem, January 2008.


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