Ethnomathematics Program Approved by HTSB

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The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Education began offering a graduate certificate and the first academic program in the world in ethnomathematics in 2018.  In late 2018, the Hawai‘i Teacher Standards Board (HTSB) approved adding a field of licensure in ethnomathematics. Applications for the ethnomathematics graduate certificate are now open at

Ethnomathematics participants gather algae around Coconut Island. PC: UH Mānoa

The HTSB field of licensure in ethnomathematics affirms that the program meets state and federal educational standards. Ethnomathematics is a way to prepare high-quality P–20 teachers as leaders through real-world application of teaching and learning mathematics that bridges indigenous wisdom and 21st century skills to classrooms and communities.

The ethnomathematics program at UH Mānoa is the culmination of more than 10 years of building the UH Ethnomathematics and STEM Institute, under the direction of Professor of Mathematics Education Linda Furuto, with support from state and federal funding.

Hawaii Technology Academy Teacher Jaqueline Vallejo-San Augustin looks through algae. PC: UH Mānoa

  • As part of the existing professional development program, educators have traveled to the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology on Moku o Lo‘e, also known as Coconut Island, in Kāne‘ohe Bay to study snapping shrimp and other creatures in the algae they collected. They listened for the snapping sound from shrimp in a laboratory and tested to see if the snapping got louder and more frequent when a predator, such as a crab, was introduced. This led to a discussion on the mathematical aspects of sound waves that included amplitude, period, wavelength and frequency.
  • Other locations for studying ethnomathematics have been aboard the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s double-hulled voyaging canoes Hikianalia and Hōkūle‘a around the Hawaiian Islands via celestial navigation and wayfinding.
  • UH Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology on Moku o Lo‘e, also known as Coconut Island, in Kaneohe Bay. PC: UH Mānoa

  • UH ethnomathematics groups have also studied at Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Waikalua Loko Fi shpond, Ka Papa Lo‘i O Kānewai and Mokauea Island.

The deadline to apply for the ethnomathematics graduate certificate program is Feb. 15, 2019, (applications received after this date will be considered based on available space).

For more information, including a program overview, funding opportunities and how to apply, go online.


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