Small Number and the Old Canoe

Speaker: Veselin Jungic, Mark Maclean, Rena Sinclair

Date: Sun, Nov 22, 2009 to Mon, Nov 23, 2009

Location: Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Conference: BIRS First Nations Math Education Workshop

Subject: Mathematics

Class: Educational


In Small Num­ber and the Old Canoe math­e­mat­ics is present through­out the story with the hope that this expe­ri­ence will make at least some mem­bers of our young audi­ence, with the moderator’s help, rec­og­nize more math­e­mat­ics around them in their every­day lives. We use terms like smooth, shape, oval, and sur­face, the math­e­mat­i­cal phrase­ol­ogy like, It must be at least a hun­dred years old, the artist skill­fully presents reflec­tion (sym­me­try) of trees in water, and so on. The idea behind this approach is to give the mod­er­a­tor a few open­ings to intro­duce or empha­size var­i­ous math­e­mat­i­cal objects, con­cepts, and ter­mi­nol­ogy. The short film is a lit­tle math sus­pense story and our ques­tion is related only to one part of it. The aim of the ques­tion is to lead to an intro­duc­tion at an intu­itive level of the con­cept of a func­tion and the essence of the prin­ci­ple of inclusion-exclusion as a count­ing tech­nique. The authors would also like to give their audi­ence an oppor­tu­nity to appre­ci­ate that in order to under­stand a math ques­tion, one often needs to read (or in this case, watch) a prob­lem more than once.

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