Math Catcher and Its Founder Capture National Attention

Math Catcher and Its Founder Capture National Attention

By: Diane Luckow
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Previously published in SFU NEWS Aboriginal Supplement December  2015

Veselin Jungic, founder of SFU’s Math Catcher Program—Mathematics through Aboriginal storytelling—was honoured earlier this year when the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) selected him as a 3M National Teaching Fellow.

He is one of just 10 Canadians to receive this distinction in 2015, and one of 278 Fellows whose work “embodies the highest ideals of teaching excellence and scholarship with a commitment to encourage and support the educational experience of every learner.”

Four years ago Jungic established the Math Catcher Program to promote and encourage mathematics and scholarship among Aboriginal students. The program encompasses math tools and activities that incorporate Aboriginal traditions and cultures, as well as school visits throughout B.C., and workshops and math camps at SFU for Aboriginal high school students.

“Working with students in SFU’s Aboriginal University Prep Program has confirmed my belief that there is no lack of talent and interest for mathematics among Aboriginal learners,” says Jungic.

“It has also convinced me that additional effort should be made to reach out to Aboriginal elementary and high school students to help them recognize the importance of mathematics and how mathematics forms the basis for many of our daily decisions and lifelong choices.”

Jungic presented the Math Catcher program to the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer last April and to Northwest Territories teachers in August.

He also arranges for SFU graduate students to volunteer as tutors in math and science for adult learners at the Native Education College in Vancouver, and co-organizes the SFU Academic Summer Camp for Aboriginal Students.

The Math Catcher Program, for today's learners and educators

For today’s learners: We present the Math Catcher Outreach Program in the classroom to encourage elementary and high school students to recognize how math is used in everyday life and how it forms the basis for many of our daily decisions and life-long choices. We use storytelling, pictures, models and hands-on activities to encourage young people to enjoy math and to help dispel myths that math is boring and abstract. We offer free-of-charge Math Catcher visits to schools across British Columbia. The program also organizes annual math summer camps at SFU's Burnaby campus andworkshops at SFU and at other locations.

For today’s educators: The Math Catcher Outreach Program provides you with the opportunity to explore ways to demystify mathematics for your students through storytelling and hands-on activities.

Meet Small Number: We engage Aboriginal learners in math and science through the use of First Nations imagery and storytelling. You can experience Small Number’s adventures by watching animated films in the Blackfoot, Cree, English, Halq’em ́eylem, Heiltsuk, Hul’q’umi’num’, Huu-ay- aht, Nisga’a, Sliammon, and Squamish languages.

Beyond the Article

Posted on December 17, 2015