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Learning mathematics concepts in a traditional socio-culture economic environment in Zimbabwe

L J Nyaumwe


This paper argues that each culture has its unique applications of mathematical concepts. It presents this argument by showing how the Great Zimbabwe Monument that was built between the 12th and 14th century applied some geometrical concepts that some secondary school students in Zimbabwe find difficult to comprehend. Examples of how different trades in Zimbabwe apply mathematical concepts with precision without the practitioners receiving formal education are drawn from common cultural economic activities. The discussion exposes some benefits that secondary school students might derive from the
inclusion of ethnomathematics in their curriculum. The inclusion might facilitate the
implementation of child-centred instructional practices that view mathematical knowledge
as context based and a social construct that continuously evolve from human activities to
solve emerging social needs. In conclusion the paper highlights the implications for
including ethnomathematics in the secondary school and teacher education curricula.

Keywords: Mathematical concepts, geometrical concepts, ethnomathematics,
child-centred methods.

Indilinga Vol. 5 (1) 2006: pp. 50-61