Show Me Your Math! Fair Brings Over 200 Mi'kmaq Students to Potlotek

Over 200 Mi’kmaw elementary, junior high and high school students from across Nova Scotia will come together in Potlotek First Nation May 7 to celebrate math and cultural heritage during the annual Show Me Your Math! Regional Fair.

Show Me Your Math! showcases school projects that detail the math inherent in the Mi’kmaw culture.  This year’s fair will be held at the Potlotekewey Mi’kmaw School from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Primary to Grade 12 students from Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) schools, the Strait Regional School Board, and the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board, will present individual and group math projects completed during the school year.

“The Fair was designed to get kids thinking about how math is a part of their own culture and heritage,” says Dr. Lisa Lunney Borden, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at St. Francis Xavier University, and one of the fair’s organizers.

Since the fair’s launch in 2006, over 3,000 Mi’kmaw students in MK schools have participated. In recent years the fair expanded to include public schools in Nova Scotia that serve Mi’kmaw communities such as the Strait, Chignecto Central, and Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Boards.

As part of their course work, students partner with elders, community craftspeople, family members, and friends on projects that explore the role of math in their everyday lives. In the past, students have learned lessons such as the importance of Pi in crafting quill boxes, spatial reasoning inherent in traditional baking, and how math plays a role in constructing a canoe or traditional drums.

The annual fair began when Dr. Lunney Borden was pursuing doctoral studies at University of New Brunswick after teaching for ten years at an MK school as a high school math teacher. During her studies, Borden spoke with Aboriginal elders and collected stories on how they used math in their every day lives. She decided that this valuable sharing of information between generations - students and elders – ought to be an annual event.

“At this fair the roles switch for the students; they become the researchers,” says Borden. “When you see them sharing their discoveries and speaking passionately about math with Elders, it’s a heartwarming moment.”

More information about the Show Me Your Math! Fair can be found at www.showmeyourmath.ca