Participants' journeys in project macimise (mathematics and Culture in micronesia : integrating societal experiences)

Aiona, Andrea Maile
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
Project MACIMISE (Mathematics and Culture In Micronesia: Integrating Societal Experiences) began in 2010. The first project of its kind ever attempted, its aims were threefold: First to examine local cultural practices and work with elders or other experts to rediscover and/or uncover indigenous mathematics in each of ten participating Pacific islands and island groups (Hawaiʻi, Pohnpei, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, American Samoa, Kosrae, Chuuk, Guam, Saipan, Yap and Palau); second to use knowledge gained from this to design, implement and assess mathematics curricular units for grades one, four and seven; and third to build local capacity by offering advanced degree opportunities to participants. Twenty-two people, myself included, participated in Project MACIMISE, which is scheduled to end in 2014. This study explores and documents the journeys of eighteen MACIMISE participants using data collected between January 2010 and December 2013 in an attempt answer four questions: First, what happens when participants in Project MACIMISE study traditional and local practices to uncover indigenous mathematical ways of knowing; second what happens when they attempt to create and implement mathematics curricula based on these practices; third what are the similarities and differences when the participants share about their experiences; and fourth how can we use these discoveries to inform future projects similar to MACIMISE? This study tracks the difficulties, challenges, struggles and successes of the participants. Using a variety of qualitative research methodologies, participants describe the ways in which the project met or failed to meet their expectations; they describe new understandings about how their island cultures mathematized their world; they describe a sense of urgency about documenting what is left of their cultures' indigenous knowledge before it disappears; and they discuss the conflicts and violations they negotiated while trying to embed indigenous mathematical knowledge and practices within primarily Western-modeled educational settings. The study also explores the concept of ethnomathematics and how the project applied or failed to apply ethnomathematics. By being a participant-observer in Project MACIMISE, I reach conclusions about the nature and utility of ethnomathematics.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
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