WOUB airs the film Navajo Math Circles on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 9 p.m.
The film features work by Dr. Robert Klein, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Ohio University.
Hundreds of Navajo children in recent years have found themselves at the center of a lively collaboration with mathematicians from around the world. The children stay late after school and assemble over the summer to study mathematics, using a model called math circles, which originated in Eastern Europe and which has proliferated across the United States. This notion of student-centered learning puts children in charge of exploring mathematics to their own joy and satisfaction, with potentially long-lasting results.
Navajo Math Circles is a one-hour film that is documenting the meeting of two worlds: that of some of the country’s most accomplished mathematicians and math educators, with the children and teachers in the underserved, largely rural Navajo educational system.
Navajo Math Circles opens a window on the lives of several Navajo students who have participated in a lively collaboration with mathematicians and math educators since 2012. The students stay late after school and assemble over the summer to study mathematics, using a model called Math Circles. This notion of student-centered learning puts children in charge of exploring mathematics to their own joy and satisfaction, with potentially long-lasting results.
“We do something very unique here … connecting students to their identities as students who are very good at mathematics, but also their identities as Navajo, is extremely important. We don’t want to see Navajo as somebody outside, or somebody on the fringes of the mathematical community. We want them to see themselves as part of that community, as Navajo, as mathematicians,” says Klein. His research includes rural education.