Loom Beading, Métis Finger Weaving, and LYNXcoding.club

In recognition of this National Day of Truth & Reconciliation

On this first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, I wish to share this incredible work arising out of a multi-year, multi-site Indigenous mathematics research study headed by Dr. Ruth Beatty of Lakehead University.

Bead Design coded in Lynx

It “was designed in response to a Canada-wide call from the Ministries of Education that recognized the need to explicitly incorporate Indigenous content in order to support identity building and appreciation of Indigenous perspectives and values. During the study, research teams across Ontario collaboratively explored connections between the mathematical content in the Ontario curriculum and the mathematics inherent in Indigenous cultural practices. The research teams comprised Indigenous leaders, artists, and educators and non-Indigenous educators who, after consultation with community Elders, co-planned and co-taught units of mathematics instruction based on Indigenous activities and artifacts, and then together analyzed and disseminated results. Although all teams explored culturally responsive mathematics education, each individual project was at the local grassroots level and driven by the views, opinions, resources, and interests of participating communities.”

The recent work has added in the exploration of “the interaction between Logo (Lynx) coding and Indigenous design, technology and artistry and how incorporating coding can help us to further understand Anishinaabe ways of knowing mathematics that both align with, and are different from, a Western European conception of mathematics.”

Follow #IKMath on Twitter

You can find much background on this project at the Supporting Indigenous Learners in Mathematics site**. In fact, you will also see much about the mathematics there. Please search, and follow, #IKMath on Twitter.

My involvement is a result of CanCode funding which allowed us to provide resources and coding expertise to Ruth, the team of educators, and to the students. Michael Quinn (creator of LynxCoding), Brenda Sherry, and I worked with TakingITGlobal to apply and secure the CanCode funding for our project CodeToLearn. (@CanCodeToLearn) And, in fact, Brenda introduced us to Ruth whom she had met (and been impressed by) when she was a vice-principal in Upper Grand District School Board! Thx Brenda!

I am sure I don’t need to emphasize just how important this work is. When those children are given the respect and the opportunities embedded in this initiative, it is a beautiful thing.

The Process

Much of the process involves conversations among the community members and adults. This is a community-driven initiative.

The students:

  • learn about their culture from the elders
  • have Indigenous artists come and teach them the artistry of their ancestors (loom beading or Métis finger weaving)
  • come to understand the mathematics from that perspective
  • then code it with a Canadian-made programming language (Lynx)
    • once skilled in coding, students often then design in code, then create the beading artefact
    • Note also that Lynx is currently available in Canadian English, French, Ojibwe, Mohawk, Oji-Cree, and Mi’kmaw (with more to come as more funding becomes available)

First, the Students Create a Design

Kids planning their patterns. Check the math!
More planning. More math!

Then Out Come the Looms!

Kids physically using the loom and their beads.

Mike Fitzmaurice, in a tweet said—about the plan below—some big smiles @eganvilleps as a student hit column 43 today!

The Plan!

Some Coding Basics Related to Beading

Here is a link to a LYNX coding project that shows the basics of beading: https://lynxcoding.org/share/KygjQLhj0m Click on the green EDIT button to see the code.

A very basic pattern core.

The pattern above is made by executing the ‘core‘ program/code below.

to rb
;makes the red bead
setpensize 15
setc 'red
fd 15 pu
to bb
;makes the blue bead
setpensize 15
setc 'blue
fd 15 pu
to move
;moves turtle to begin next row
bk 75
wait 2
rt 90
wait 2
fd 15
wait 2
lt 90
to column1
repeat 5 [rb wait 3]
to column2
repeat 4 [rb wait 3]
to column3
repeat 3 [rb wait 3]
repeat 2 [bb wait 3]
to column4
repeat 2 [rb wait 3]
repeat 3 [bb wait 3]
to column5
repeat 1 [rb wait 3]
repeat 4 [bb wait 3]
to column6
repeat 5 [bb wait 3]
to core
;makes the pattern core
column1 wait 2
column2 wait 2
column3 wait 2
column4 wait 2
column5 wait 2
column6 wait 2
to clearscreen

Some More Advanced Beading

Dr. Ruth Beatty in a tweet said, “so much gratitude to @ruralchristina @MikeFitz157 @megleach55 @megdom55 and Laurie Bennett for pulling off a fully virtual beading, coding and math #IKMath project! Students used math to design, code, and loom beautiful beadwork. Thank you @renfrewraiders!! @CanCodeToLearn

Mike Fitzmaurice retweeted @renfrewraiders “Ms. Turpin’s class has had the incredible learning opportunity to learn alongside leaders from @mylakehead & @AOP_FN in a special beading, coding, math & history project. Zoe Mosiondz-Sagmeister coded this individual beaded bracelet design in Lynx Coding. Amazing experience!

Teachers First Lesson

These teachers were mostly new to coding and actually were extremely hesitant. They didn’t think they could do it. And, they certainly thought the younger kids wouldn’t be able to do it. Surprise. Surprise! 🙂

Teachers learning to code chevrons for their loom beading with LYNX – the first day!

Métis Finger Weaving

Métis teacher educating us about the importance of the sash in Métis culture.
A simple beginning to the finger weaving to create a sash.

Here is a link to a project for a first attempt at finger weaving:

https://lynxcoding.org/share/vDG860pPdo Click on the blue EDIT button to see the code.

to setup
everyone [pu setpensize 15]
r1, setpos [160 180]
b2, setpos [180 180]
r3, setpos [200 180]
b4, setpos [220 180]
r5, setpos [240 180]
b6, setpos [260 180]
r7, setpos [280 180]
b8, setpos [300 180]
everyone [seth 180]
to redturtles
tto [r1 r3 r5 r7] setc 'red'
to blueturtles
tto [b2 b4 b6 b8] setc 'blue'
to weave
fd 20 wait 2
rt 90
fd 160 wait 2
lt 90
to core
b8, weave
wait 2
r7, weave
wait 2
b6, weave
wait 2
r5, weave
wait 2
b4, weave
wait 2
r3, weave
wait 2
b2, weave
wait 2
r1, weave
wait 2
to sash
repeat 4 [core]
to position1
tto [r1 b2 r3 b4 r5 b6 r7] pd fd 20 pu
to position2
tto [b8 r1 b2 r3 b4 r5 b6] pd fd 20 pu
to position3
tto [r7 b8 r1 b2 r3 b4 r5] pd fd 20 pu
to position4
tto [b6 r7 b8 r1 b2 r3 b4]
pd fd 20 pu
to position5
tto [r5 b6 r7 b8 r1 b2 r3]
pd fd 20 pu
to position6
tto [b4 r5 b6 r7 b8 r1 b2]
pd fd 20 pu
to position7
tto [r3 b4 r5 b6 r7 b8 r1]
pd fd 20 pu
to position8
tto [b2 r3 b4 r5 b6 r7 b8]
pd fd 20 pu

Some Key People

Ruth Beatty – @ruthbeatty11

Mike Fitzmaurice – @MikeFitz157

Heather Lett – HeatherLett68

Christina Ruddy Lavalley – Indigenous Artist @ruralchristina

Colinda Clyne – @clclyne

Bonnie Sears – @BonnieSears20

Sara Furnival – @sarafurnival

Nina Perrault – @NinaPrimeau

Megan Leach – @megleach55

Laurie Bennett – Indigenous Artist

Leslie Muma – Indigenous Artist

Jennifer King – Indigenous Artist @JenniferNKing

Brenda Sherry – @brendasherry

Michael Quinn – @coding_lynx

TakingITGlobal – @TakingITGlobal

Also — a shout out to Nadine McSpadden and Jess Kyle who have done awesome Salish weaving work and coding in British Columbia!

(Forgive me as I will miss some key people. Please feel free to add them in a comment.)

Thank you!

Thanks for checking this out. We are looking forward to more collaborations going forward. May this work serve our children well. Follow #IKMath!

**Some of the Supporting Indigenous Learners in Mathematics site seems to require access…but, much of it does not! So look around! Or request access. 🙂