Good question. Here is a short version. Students interview someone in their life about something important to them. It could be about a game they played as a kid. Or it could be about something their parents or grandparents taught them. They are encouraged to pick something cultural. The questions are based on the Bishop 6 (see below). The goal is for students to see how so many things in our lives are mathematical.
But there is another goal. The collection of these interviews gives us teachers background on our students. Using this information, we can create math problems in a context that is interesting to our students and that connects our curriculum to their lives.
I am working on constructing a unit that can be used with students. Click here for my blog post explaining my intentions and the outline of my plan.
The Bishop 6: the universal mathematical activities found in all cultures
What kind of numbers are used: whole, negative, rational, irrational, complex, infinity, etc?
How is the number system built (what base? why?)
How are the operations used or described?
Are there any prominent/special numbers? Superstitions?
What is the purpose/meanings of shapes, patterns, designs, angles, etc?
Is there symmetry used? Patterns? Area? Perimeter? Perspective?
What objects are made/created for the culture
trade, warfare, games, religion, home
Comparing, Ordering and Quantifying
How do you keep track of : (What are the units used?)
temperature, height, weight, size
How do people use space?
Physical, Time, Spiritual
Physical, Sociogeographical, Cosmological
How do they give directions
How do they name places?
Social Procedures, structure, rules
Hypothetical thinking (prediction)
Manipulation of surroundings to see what works and doesn't work
Answering the question "Why?"
Classifying objects (explaining where they belong)
The stories told through the generations that explain
The use of astrology
I am super excited about these. But, I have work to do before I can share them on here. Stay tuned...