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Launch of Problems with Purpose

By Lata Punetha

The Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) is situated on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. As part of the University of Waterloo campus, the CEMC is located on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation at the University of Waterloo takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is coordinated within the Office of Indigenous Relations. At the CEMC, we partner with educators and work with students who are located across Turtle Island and around the world. We seek to work in the spirit of the University of Waterloo’s Indigenous Strategic Plan and the Faculty of Math’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Anti-racism, and Indigenization (EDI-R & I) Principles.

Over the last few years, the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing has had many conversations with teachers who are Indigenous, and teachers who teach in Indigenous communities about how the CEMC could support the calls of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A recurring theme was the importance of exploring mathematics with concrete connections to the world around us. For many students, there is a transformative power in exploring mathematics with this approach which not only enriches the learning experience but also positions mathematics as a potent tool for empowering communities and contributing to the betterment of the world. Mathematics can indeed transcend cultural boundaries and has the potential to unite societies.

With the aim to help students explore mathematics through hands-on activities, the CEMC created a collection of mathematics questions for high school students, called “Problems with Purpose”. Please visit this webpage to be able to view and download these problems.