RAFT Idea Sheets Link Math and Culture - Making Student Engagement Come Alive

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New RAFT Idea Sheets explore geometric models, helping students explore math concepts and their relation to culture.

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...mathematics really comes to life when students are free to explore concepts in creative, investigative ways that are particularly interesting and relevant to them.

Since 1994, central to RAFT’s (Resource Area for Teaching) mission is its belief that hands-on teaching builds and reinforces a deeper level of learning skills that are critical for thinking, evaluation, and inquiry. Mathematics taught with other subjects reinforces central core values that help students to assess and to develop real world critical thinking skills.

Connections between math and cultural influences might seem mutually exclusive. But there are many benefits to combining such divergent subjects including but not limited to: making sense of pattern recognition and detail in creative ways; critiquing and making sense of observations; being precise with approaches and vocabulary; looking for efficient strategies in constructions; using number sense to describe a real situation; and using tools purposefully.

RAFT has created four new Idea Sheets aligned to national curriculum standards to support the correlations between math and culture. The new Idea Sheets include: Mathematical African Akuaba Figures, Mathematical Hopi Kachina Figures, Mathematical Japanese Kokeshi Figures, and Mathematical Russian Matryoshka Figures. These new activities are a part of RAFT’s library of over 700 free, downloadable Idea Sheets. Activity Kits, which include the Idea Sheet plus the materials needed to complete the project, can be purchased in the learning center’s retail store or online.

“To me,” comments RAFT’s Math Master Educator Jeanne Lazzarini, “mathematics really comes to life when students are free to explore concepts in creative, investigative ways that are particularly interesting and relevant to them. Each cultural figure investigates a different set of geometric concepts, starting with simple shape and pattern recognition to investigating heights, widths, surface areas, volumes, plane transformations, and then leading students to advanced explorations of fractal self-similarity, golden ratios and proportions, and scale modeling."

RAFT's 700, free Idea Sheets can be searched using a variety of ways to pinpoint activities that are suited to specific grade level, subject area, and content standard. This search capability also allows searching by keyword, making it even easier to find Idea Sheets which match specific criteria.

The Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards Idea Sheet correlations are available to download for free via the standards grid at http://www.raftbayarea.org/idea-grid and on the individual detail page for each Idea Sheet.

For more information and examples, please read Get Lost in the Internet's Mind-Bending, Math Inspired Art

About Resource Area for Teaching
RAFT believes the best way to spark the love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers, and creators, is through hands-on learning. A nonprofit organization since 1994, RAFT serves 11,000 educators each year who teach over 800,000 students. Find out more about RAFT and how to get involved at http://www.raft.net.

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Brittany Coleman
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