Math 3-6

Systems Change
Math 3-6 > Strategies > Incorporate Students' Cultural Practices

Incorporate Students' Cultural Practices


Learning about students' cultures and connecting them to instructional practices helps all students feel like valued members of the community. When teachers integrate the cultural knowledge students bring to the classroom into math problems and projects, they help students draw on their background knowledge to better understand and relate to the material. This strategy is one that supports the practice of culturally responsive teaching and is meant to be used with other strategies that also allow representation of all learners in the curriculum.

Use It in the Classroom

  • To incorporate students' cultural practices, a teacher must learn about students' backgrounds, particularly how math is used in cultural traditions and practices. Regardless of what a teacher already knows about students, asking them more about themselves will build trust and a sense of caring, fostering positive Emotion. The teacher can then integrate cultural uses of math (e.g., for word problems). Incorporating cultural nuances, such as how familiar symbols may be used differently, also helps students engage more deeply, supporting both Attention and Long-term Memory.
  • Design It into Your Product

  • Designing products that allow learners to see their cultures represented not only engages learners but also makes the learning more accessible and relevant. Student choice can also be incorporated with multiple settings and character backgrounds for students to choose from, allowing for many students to connect with the work. ### Use It in the Classroom
  • Resources

    Below are additional examples, research, and professional development. These resources are possible representations of this strategy, not endorsements.