Categories: Bill Babbitt
Tags: Ayeduase, Bill Babbitt, cornrow curves, CSDTs, ghana, kente cloth, math
The very exciting thing about our software is the opportunity for a conversation it presents for specific math and computer science concepts. During my time in Ghana, there were many opportunities for these conversations. The joy of sharing knowledge is a great ‘high’, but so is seeing those concepts successfully reinforced by software one has helped to develop.
The Culturally Situated Design Tool ‘Cornrow Curves’ uses the mathematical concepts of rotation, dilation, translation, and reflection as the student works to create a cornrow braid on the screen. In addition, the student ‘bumps into’ the concepts of Cartesian Coordinate Plane, x and y axis, and what percentage means during their work. As I have mentioned before, I felt certain that our students at the Ayeduasse school had leaned these concepts completely, but finding the words to describe them was difficult for them. Thus began the quest to find appropriate terms in Tui (their native language) to help them out…
Ntwaho = Rotation
Ntwaso = Traslation
Ketowa / Keseye = Dilation (roughly bigger / smaller)
Adane = Reflection
Nkabom = Iterate
When we began our work with the Kente Cloth simulation, it immediately occurred to me that we had an opportunity for a conversation that repeated and reinforced the geometry concepts taught through Cornrows. In addition we added appropriate computer science terms such as likening a computer program to a cooking recipe or ‘Atosodee’.
There were so many exciting aspects of our trip to Ghana and working with these students, finding ways to bridge gaps in understanding certainly were wonderful highlights in a great adventure.