Teaching Mathematics through the Art of Kolam

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Syamala Chenulu teaches middle school mathematics at Capitol Hill Day Schoolin Washington, D.C.

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One goal of the NCTM's connections Standard is that mathematics instruction pre- K–12 should “enable all students to recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics” (NCTM 2000, p. 64). Art of all kinds provides opportunities to address this goal. Moreover, many mathematics educators, including myself, believe that it is important and beneficial to provide a multicultural perspective in our classrooms. “Knowledge of the ideas of others can enlarge our view of what is mathematical and, in particular, add a more humanistic and global perspective to the history of mathematics. This enlarged view, in which mathematical ideas are seen to play a vital role in diverse human endeavors, provides us with a richer and fuller picture of mathematics” (Ascher 2002, p. 200).

Footnotes

Chenulu Syamala is interested in algebra and the history of mathematics. The author would like to thank Liaa Walter, one of the art teachers at Capitol Hill Day School, for her help with this unit.

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Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School
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