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Task 3: Incorporate Ethnomathematics and Ethnoscience
Guideline: Unlike most western cultures, native cultures generally approach mathematics and science within the context of their society's culture. The concept of "ethnomathematics" was first used by Brazilian mathematician Ubiratan D'Ambrosio to describe the mathematical practices of identifiable cultural groups. When teaching native students, the relevant math and science curriculum should be related to the students' cultural backgrounds.
Overview: The Australian Academy of Science declares, "the term ‘ethnomathematics' was first used in the late 1960s by a Brazilian mathematician, Ubiratan D'Ambrosio, to describe the mathematical practices of identifiable cultural groups. Some see it as the study of mathematics in different cultures, others as a way of making mathematics more relevant to different cultural or ethnic groups, yet others as a way of understanding the differences between cultures."
D'Ambrosio viewed ethnomathematics as a means to integrate science with social justice. Such a view does not sit "comfortably with many scientists: science, they argue, is science, and trying to make it politically correct will only impede its progress. Some educators fret that teaching mathematics using an ethnomathematical approach reduces it to a social studies subject that teaches students little about ‘real' mathematics. Others simply ridicule the whole notion: according to one disparaging journalist, 'Unless you wish to balance your checkbook the ancient Navajo way, it's probably safe to ignore the whole thing'.... But there are also many scientists, educators and commentators who see ethnomathematics - in all its definitions - as a legitimate discipline with plenty to offer the modern world."
Ethnoscience provides an approach similar to ethnomathematics to relate culture to science.