ERIC Number: ED399176
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr-8
The Mathematics and Mathematical Thinking of Seamstresses.
Hancock, Sabrina J. C.
This study documents the mathematics practiced by four women in the context of sewing. The study describes the mathematics recognized in the skills, thinking and strategies used by the seamstresses. Through their work, the seamstresses exhibited an understanding of the concepts of angles, direction, parallel, reflection, symmetry, proportion, similarity and estimation; however, the women may not have known they were thinking mathematically as they created garments. The study also compares the mathematics used by seamstresses to that used by other trades people--carpenters and carpet layers. It was determined that even where people have been denied a formal education, they create and informally learn their own mathematics through daily activities. Findings include that mathematics educators might allow students to choose math problems that are meaningful to them, i.e. situations in which they could appropriately apply mathematics in topic areas of interest to them. In particular, this might empower women in mathematics and enlighten all students about the value of "traditional" female work. (AIM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8, 1996).