Robertson Program for Inquiry-Based Teaching in Math and Science

This past week I (Clare) met with the Robertson Foundation Program for Inquiry-Based Teaching in Math and Science. The program is housed at the Jackman Institute of Child Studies (JICS) and in short I was blown away with the work they are doing. The team includes: Bev Caswell, Jisoo Seo, Zach Pedersen,  Larissa Lam, Dr. Joan Moss, and Zack Hawes

Here is a short video of Dr. Bev Caswell talking about the program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=16&v=ROGrNfqI8_8

The purpose of the Robertson Program is to create, demonstrate, and disseminate ImageFamily-Math-Night-collageinquiry-based teaching models for mathematics and science by focusing on both teacher and student inquiry. The crux of inquiry-based learning is critical thinking- an essential skill for teachers, who strive to deepen students’ conceptual understanding of mathematics and science in authentic ways and for students, who choose to pursue academic and professional careers in the STEM professions (i.e., Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

One of their initiatives has been a collaboration with “Rainy River District School Board (RRDSB) schools and the First Nation communites they serve.  Family Math Nights were designed collaboratively with indigenous instructional leaders, First Nation educational counsellors, school board numeracy facilitators and the Robertson Program/Jackman ICS/OISE team. 

First Nation community members and RRDSB educators developed activities  – such as canoe symmetry, creating tangram clan animals, wigwam construction, exploring number patterns through Metis jigging – that raise awareness of concepts of geometry and measurement embedded in local cultural practices. As well, school board numeracy facitlitators and OISE team offered activities that reflect current research in spatial thinking – a strong predictor of overall math achievement.

This deeply collaborative and respectful approach to planning Family Math nights – designed under the leadership of First Nation communities in collaboration with the school board – highlights a model of success being used across the RRDSB.

Hosting a Family Math Night at your school is an opportunity to build and strengthen positive relationships among home, school and community. Not only that, children of all ages get a chance to see math as an inclusive, playful, engaging and accessible endeavour.”

For more info check out their website: http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/robertson/

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