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Aug 16, 2021 2021-08-16

STEM • STEAM • STREAM

From African Fractals to Adinka Computing—Culturally Situated STEM+C Activities

The mission of the Culturally Situated Design Tools (CSDTs) team is to improve education, justice, and equity through new STEM+C educational methods. By eliminating misconceptions about race and gender in STEM+C, engaging students, and aiding teachers, CSDTs can simultaneously be used to teach science, empower students, and change perspectives. Growing out of the field of ethnomathematics, CSDTs were initially developed as a series of Java applets that teachers could use to engage diverse students on math topics. As Java applets were phased out of use, CSDTs were switched to build on Snap, adding new core components to incorporate culture (CSnap), and expanded to include computer science and general science topics. From Native beadwork to urban graffiti, students can find the “heritage algorithms” of their interest, learn their connection to STEM principles, and develop their own designs. Teachers can shift their curriculum to include coding the curves of Adinkra symbols created by the Ashanti people of Ghana using Scratch programs and calculating the arcs found in Anishinaabe Native American architecture. Students can examine visuals from these cultures and use math as a way to explore intricate designs. The patterns and symbols and circles—all of which represent nature, represent honor—represent where they come from—have embedded mathematics in them.”

STEM • STEAM • STREAM Diversity/Equity/Inclusion Underserved Populations Cultural Awareness

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