6th Aboriginal Students in Math and Science Workshop

Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 10:00 - 16:00

IRMACS Presentation Studio, Applied Science Building 10900, The IRMACS Centre, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus


The main goal of the workshop is to give an opportunity to Aboriginal high school students to experience "hands on" mathematics and science through various activities. This year the workshop participants had the opportunity to meet with four prominent Aboriginal scientists.

The workshop is organized by the Math Catcher Outreach Program, the SFU Office for Aboriginal Peoples, the Faculty of Science, the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, the Department of Mathematics, and the IRMACS Centre.

The workshop comes at no cost to the participants. 

Dr. Veselin Jungic, 3M National Teaching Fellow



10:00 - 10:10 Welcome by William Lindsay, Office for Aboriginal Peoples
10:10 - 11:00 "Dissecting One-Sided Surfaces" by Shawn Desaulniers, UBC
11:00 - 11:10 Break
11:10 - 12:00 "The Eagle Feather" by Robert Cardinal, University of Calgary
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
1:00 - 1:50 "From String Figures to the Fields Medal" by Edward Doolittle, First Nations University of Canada
1:50 - 2:00 Break
2:00 - 2:50 "Taking Your Indian Time" by Kyle Bobiwash, SFU
2:50 - 3:00 Information Session: 2016 SFU Academic Summer Camp for Aboriginal High School Students and SFU Aboriginal Bridging Programs 
3:00 - 4:00 SFU Campus Tour provided by the Indigenous Student Centre


In News


An article in SFU News about the workshop is available here.

An article in The Peak about the workshop is available here.

An article in the Sliammon First Nation Newsletter (page 6) about the workshop is available here.



Hello Veselin,
Yes, much appreciated and it was an awesome day. Here are some comments from my students:
Clayton grade 11 = I really enjoyed the paper cylinder cutting activity and the string games and figures you can make, who knew this is all connected to math & science.
Nolan grade 10 = I enjoyed listening to Robert Cardinal especially the info about why telescopes are in space because there is no weather and all daylight.
Laurie grade 11 = I enjoyed Robert's talking. He was a good storyteller.
Ayela grade 11 = I liked hearing about the pollinating plants and bumble bees disappearing from Kyle. How people bring toothbrushes and help the flowers from dying.
Courtney grade 11 = I really liked Robert's talk because I want to be an Astronomer myself, so coming to SFU today made my goals a little easier to see.

I will try and send you some pics from my Ipad later.



Hi Veso,

I really enjoyed the event yesterday! I could tell from the students expressions that they were also. The speakers did a great job in motivating the students and creating role models.

It would be great to keep this enthusiasm going with these students and more across Western Canada and guide them into careers in science and mathematics. I'm looking forward to helping you to develop ways to accomplish this.

- Randall


Dear Veselin,
Thanks again for hosting us, as we all enjoyed our time at SFU. I have attached a "draft" article about our experience that you are welcome to use in any way you like to promote your program or university.
On our way back to Powell River I recorded the following responses from our students who attended the workshop:
- good pace to the day
- variety of topics
- positive, inspiring role models who talked about their educational journeys
- good lunch
- staying on campus
- friendly, relaxed,welcoming environment
- more time to get to know the other students (make it a two day event)
- more movement and activities, less sitting
Thanks again for everything.

The article was also published in Neh Motl, the comunity newspaper of the Sliammon Nation.


Hello Veselin
I wasn't able to see all the students, but I did speak with two and the teacher who accompanied them. Everyone was impressed with how they were treated: nice facility, parking, lunch, etc. They particularly enjoyed the first speaker, and appreciated the manipulatives that the speaker had everyone use. While the kids had some difficulty articulating their impressions, the teacher summed up the day by saying that it was a good experience, but he thinks the students would have enjoyed and benefited from more hands-on activities and less listening.
A sincere thank you to you and the other organizers of this event.
Jennifer Duhamel-Conover
Aboriginal Success Teacher
Academic Counsellor for the British Columbia School for the Deaf and Oral Program
English Teacher


Thank you very much for the opportunity you created for my students. They were really excited by the speakers and SFU.
I was astonished by how much they knew about the topics presented! Although we were not able to stay for the tour I did hear from Langley Secondary School that the tour was pretty fantastic too. Here are a couple of pictures of my three students at the event.
Thank you very much!!
Pam Goldsack
AboriginalSupport Worker
Brookswood SecondarySchool


The students enjoyed the event and we're thankful they were able to come down the night before. The first presenter who use the möbius strips and different designs was one of their favourites. They appreciated the interactive hands on activities he had the students do. I even learned things that I am implementing in my classes. The second presenter was also well received by the students. His story about life really connected with some of our students as ithey are the same issues they are going through. One student said it gave them chills. The third presenter started off strong with the string exercises that our students were practicing on the way home. His video though did get is a little tired and a couple fell asleep. The last presenter on bees was good but the students wished there was more hands on. One suggested it would be cool if they could have self pollinated flowers. Overall a great day and we hope that ad 73 will be back next year. Thank you so much for inviting us. I have some pictures but need permission from parents before I can release them. I hope to have this done by the end of the week
Darren Seibel
Trades and Transitions Coordinator
Chase Secondary


Dear Veselin,
thank you for inviting me to the Math and Science workshop on Jan.14.
It was great! Very interesting!


Hello Veso,
The rest of our trip went well, we got to see the Museum of Anthropology, went to some shops and restaurants, and even went ice skating!
Here are a few student comments from the activity/trip feedback forms I use. I often find that the students are shy to share their feelings out loud but give interesting insights when asked to write about their experiences.
"I learned a lot about knots, bees, and astronomy from different people. My favourite part was learning different cats cradle. The activity with the paper, scissors and tape helped me learn best."
"I learned that it might take a few doors to close in front of you for the right doors to open for you. I learned you can learn from mistakes in Science and that string tricks and math equations are very similar. My favourite parts were the Astronomy science lecture and the mobius strips math lesson. The hands on was more fun and easy to remember."
"I want to learn more about math. I never learned a lot in the textbooks. I always got stuck learning on my own. The hands on learning stuck to me. Science too, astronomy might be cool."
"I learned about some of the courses and programs SFU has to offer. My favourite parts were going to the Museum of Anthropology and the tour at SFU. I want to apply for the University Prep Program at SFU."
I will also attach some photos of our group at SFU.
Thanks again,



Photo Gallery