Grade 6 students from St. John Catholic Elementary School in Guelph participated in Wellington Catholic District School Board’s first Métis Math Collaboration.
Through the Métis Math Collaboration, Métis Knowledge Keepers, Jennifer Parkinson, Leslie Muma and Alicia Hamilton lead students to explore math concepts from the Ontario curriculum while creating a beaded bracelet from an original floral pattern designed by Muma. Students use mathematic skills to work through the pattern, plot their bracelet, determine the amount of beads needed and then proceed to bead on the loom, an Anishinaabe technique.
“The goal of the Métis Math Collaboration in Wellington is to expand this opportunity into other classes and grades in a meaningful way to ensure that the relationships and community remain the heart of the project,” shared Cathy Doucette, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education K-12 Resource Teacher at Wellington Catholic DSB. “The Wellington Catholic DSB is grateful to Leslie for sharing her flower pattern, called ‘Flowers’, with students to provide students with a fun and holistic way to do math.”
Students explored different math concepts and made their own bracelets using Muma’s floral pattern. The possibilities for making math connections are endless - spatial reasoning, patterning and algebraic reasoning, and two-dimensional transformations, to name a few.
"My favorite part of the week was when we got to start the beading was all the coloring and the math,” shared Einstein Sijo, Grade 6 student.
"During this week, I felt proud and happy because I learned how to bead and it was pretty fun," added Drake Castillo, Grade 6 student.
An equally important part of this collaborative learning experience is anchoring the math in Métis history and culture; facilitated by Parkinson, Muma and Hamilton.
"We teach kids that it's community, right, every bead joins at the end and it continues and it becomes part of who they are. That's why they got to pick their own colors. They use my pattern but their own colors so that it's special to them," shared Muma. "We do it for the kids, that's the main thing."
In the new year, Parkinson, Muma and Hamilton will return and students will have the opportunity to continue to build a sense of community and relationships with Métis Knowledge Keepers through designing their own bracelet incorporating math.