New Viewer Discussion Guide: Navajo Math Circles


New Viewer Discussion Guide: Navajo Math Circles

Navajo Math Circles follows Navajo students in a lively collaboration with mathematicians. Using a model called math circles, the students stay late after school and assemble over the summer at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona, to study mathematics. The math circles approach emphasizes open-ended problems, where students are encouraged to explore questions in mathematics to their own joy and satisfaction.

The documentary reveals the challenges in education on the Navajo Nation and looks at the benefits—both in student skills and in student attitudes—of this way of teaching mathematics. The Navajo Math Circles project also summons applications of math in Native culture to provide tools for increasing math literacy and highlights the special connections between Navajo culture, natural beauty and mathematics. The film shows how math circles help raise the hopes of parents, students and teachers for a brighter future. 

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