Roamer Links Culture and Mathematics
From earlier days of Roamers could not stop dancing. The timing, movement, rhythm of dance are natural indications of the human capacity for mathematics. The whirling of a Dervish, the energy of a Irish jig, or the invention and spontaneity of street dances – all are forms of cultural and generational expression. Programming Roamers to dance links this to geometry, algebra, symmetry… an endless list of mathematical concepts.
The original dancing activity was done in the early 90s. It involved ballroom dancing. When Roamer turned up in the USA, the Square Dancers soon appeared. This indicates the potential for dancing to connect to the cultural and generational foundations of a community.
Squaxin Native American Dancing with Roamer
Initially the Tribal Elders thought this was just “school work”. Students started to come to them and ask them how to weave (so they could make their Roamer blankets). Then they asked about their tribal dances. In the end the Elders thought the Roamer was a tool of culture.
Attendance at the Summer School was voluntary. The Roamer so engages students that they attend regularly and engage in “academic” activity for the “fun of it”. We call this engagement, it is a persistent characteristic of all Roamer Activities.
Dancing in Canada
The Squaxin project used Classic Roamer. This effort used the current Roamer whose new features like faster speed, the ability to change speed and the addition of a variable open up many new creative mathematical possibilities.