Math Catcher: Indigenizing mathematics through culturally-based storytelling

April 24, 2018
Simon Fraser University


Ms. Alana Underwood, a teacher from École Kilmer Elementary School, Port Coquitlam, BC, has kindly agreed to share her research paper "Math Catcher: Indigenizing mathematics through culturally-based storytelling" with the Math Catcher community. In this paper Ms. Underwood describes her experience with how indigenizing teaching through culturally-based  storytelling with films from the Small Number animated series affects  student engagement and understanding in mathematics. She argues that this is a tangible way to enrich students’ learning and give  students a different outlet to explore mathematics.

Ms. Underwood's paper is available here.


From Ms. Taryn Hatch, Aboriginal Youth Worker:

"Hi Alana, ​

Wow, this is an amazing piece of work on your implementation of Math Catcher. This is a resource that I can share with colleagues in the future and I am grateful that you shared this with me.

A little background about myself is that on my maternal side I am from the Tsimshian Nation. As an Aboriginal Youth Worker the core values that guide my practice stem from my Aboriginal Ancestry. It’s important to support individuals with dignity and respect. It’s also important to collaborate with children and youth to honour their own individual stories and identity. I feel that’s exactly what you have done with your lesson plan. Allowing your students the time to connect Math Catcher to their own lives honours their stories and I really appreciate the job you have done with that. The Math Catcher films and your class discussions also highlight that Aboriginal people place value on positive, balanced relationships, not only with other humans but with all beings. Aboriginal people are inclusive to relationships with animals, plants, rocks, water and spirits. This helps them in restoring harmony and balance and I think this is a concept that would be helpful for lots of students.

You are doing such a fantastic job Alana, thank you for honouring the Aboriginal community through your teachings and thank you for sharing!"


Below is a photo of Ms. Underwood taken by Veselin Jungic on February 19, 2018, during their joint presentation entitled "Math Catcher: Joy of Doing Mathematics" at the Indigenous Education Professional Development Day, Vancouver School Board, Vancouver, B.C.