School Name: Cedar Community Secondary
School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith
Inquiry Team Members: Laura Roberts: firstname.lastname@example.org, Ashley Beerling: email@example.com, Kristen Foglia: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark Kamsteeg: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Arts Education, Mathematics / Numeracy, Social Studies
Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, STEM / STEAM
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Incorporating Indigenous understandings and project-based learning into mathematics.
Scanning: We found that we were struggling to incorporate Indigenous topics into our mathematics instruction. Further, we wanted to include more mathematics in our project-based learning, as that is a focus of our grade 8/9 program. Our scanning indicated to us that this would also potentially increase engagement in our learners, in these areas.
Focus: We looked for ways to create engaging and meaningful Indigenous-focused exercise in math, and came across Bentwood Boxes as an area of focus. We think a Bentwood Box project will allow us to work on our PBL and math skills together, while creating a meaningful public product. Building these with our grade eights will be a meaningful exercise which will allow our learners to be on the land, learn about Indigenous culture, create a physical product, and practice important curricular mathematics skills.
Hunch: We think that most schools probably share similar concerns with respect to blending together Indigenous understandings with mathematics and PBL. This project will hopefully be a way to work around that.
New Professional Learning: The biggest and most important resource was our Aboriginal Education teacher, Michelle, who gave lots of ideas, feedback and enthusiasm. Some helpful resources were the book Cedar, by Hilary Stewart, and a few blogs we found online where people had taken on similar projects:
Taking Action: We created a detailed plan to be sure we were including multiple curricular areas in the project and that the learning flowed in a sequential pattern. We made several of the Bentwood Boxes at home before using the school wood shop, to be sure that we have a reliable technique.
Checking: Unfortunately, though we were able to get the project ready to use, the Covid-19 pandemic prevented us from doing the portion with the students. We plan to do this last bit in the 2020/21 school year.
Reflections/Advice: We learned that if you have a really great idea, a lot of people will be willing and excited to help. We also learned that incorporating Art, ADST, Math & Social Studies, can work really well and that it provides multiple entry points for students. Next, we plan to look for more similar opportunities; for example, learning about and creating things like the Bentwood Box, which generate curiosity and wonder right away.