November 22, 2021: Experience math in a completely new way by exploring two websites: Math Catcher Through Digital Storytelling & Radical Math for social justice.

The Math Catcher Outreach program aims to promote mathematics and scholarship in general by encouraging elementary and high school students to recognize how math is used in everyday life and how it forms the basis for many of our daily decisions and life-long choices. The storytelling, pictures, models, problem-solving, and hands-on activities encourage young people to enjoy math and help dispel the myth that math is boring and abstract. The Math Catcher program is a science outreach initiative at Simon Fraser University run by SFU faculty and staff members and students who volunteer their time towards the program.

Math Catcher aims to tackle the stigma surrounding mathematics among Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth through a series of initiatives. These include school visits, workshops, academic summer camps, tutoring programs, and creation of learning digital resources in various First Nation languages. The aims of the program are straightforward: to demonstrate that mathematics is part of everyday life and consistent with Indigenous culture; to prove that mathematics can be interesting and even fun; and to emphasize that mathematics can lead to a rewarding future. The program is based on the belief that it is crucial that we engage students in mathematics and science at an early age.

To promote mathematics among Indigenous learners, Math Catcher has created a series of stories with mathematical themes. These stories are based on the storytelling tradition of Indigenous peoples. Most of their stories have been translated into several Indigenous languages as well as French. Take a moment to explore through their digital resources and learn from each of the stories, you will see and hear many different translations of each story. Veselin Jungic and Mark MacLean co-wrote the first story called Small Number Counts to 100, which served as the cornerstone of the Math Catcher Outreach Program. Learn how they created the program in an interview from NCCIE below.

The first story, Small Number Counts to 100 was inspired by narration from Ms. Rina Sinclair of the Siksika Nation. The story can be shown to elementary school students as a counting practice/puzzle or as a pattern recognition problem. For high school students, it can be a way to introduce arithmetic progressions, modular addition, or an idea of number systems with a base different than 10. This short animation movie is a math education digital resource based on Aboriginal culture. Written by Veselin Jungic from SFU, and Mark McLean from UBC. With the voice of Dexter Anakson of the Cree Nation – Piapot First Nation Band, illustrations Simon Roy, Victoria, B.C, sound, music and animation by David Brigden and Andy Gavel from SFU. Watch the short animation below.

Math Catcher introduces mathematics and science to students through the use of First Nations imagery and storytelling. Math Catcher has produced animated films in several First Nations languages including Blackfoot, Cree, Squamish, Heiltsuk, Nisga’a, Tla’amin, Halq’em ́eylem, Hul’q’umi’num’, and Huu-ay- aht as well as bilingual picture books in Blackfoot/English, Cree/English, Squamish/English, Nisga’a/English, and Tla’amin/English. The Small Number films incorporate problem-solving and Indigenous traditions into three to four-minute-long animated stories. Small Number is a young Indigenous boy who has an impressive aptitude for mathematics – and also a proclivity for getting into trouble. Small Number’s adventures take place in different physical contexts in different Indigenous communities, yet the clever, playful protagonist remains the same. Watch below Small Number and the Old Canoe, a short animation aimed at transforming math into a star.

**Change of date: The Math Catcher Festival will be held on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2021**Save the Date for the Math Catcher Festival: A New Initiative To Promote Math And Storytelling. The Festival will be held from 9:00-12:00. The Math Catcher Festival is a celebration of students’ imagination and creativity and their knowledge of mathematics and Indigenous cultures and traditions. The Math Catcher Festival and associated activities are based on the belief that storytelling, accompanied by pictures and open-ended questions, helps students experience mathematics in action and encourages young people to enjoy math. This belief is one of the pillars of the Math Catcher Outreach program. The main goal of the Math Catcher Festival will be to showcase student-created Small Number stories and all participants will get a Math Catcher Festival certificate.

RadicalMath empowers educators to address issues of social and racial justice in math classrooms through curriculum, lesson planning resources, and professional development opportunities. It works to integrate issues of economic and social justice into math classes and seeks to inspire and support other educators to do the same. They believe that math literacy is a civil right and are committed to making sure classrooms are places that are nurturing for all students, that celebrate different cultures, histories, and styles of learning, and that reflect just societies. RadicalMath encourages students to ask the question: “What are the problems that my community is facing, and how can I use math to understand and help solve them?” They seek to foster a love of mathematics and allow for the exploration of mathematical ideas on abstract, theoretical, experimental and artistic levels. On the RadicalMath website, you will find progressive digital resources and much more.