The line and the number are not naked in Papua New Guinea

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Two key mathematical concepts, the line and the number, are considered in terms of the cultural context of several examples from the many cultures of Papua New Guinea. This paper highlights how the continuous line in a topological sense is significant diverse in cultural practices, which are relatively common in the nation though with cultural variations with each language group. In particular, it looks at the significance of the line in art, string-bag making, and in coverings. Number is also considered with evidence of invented ways and borrowed ideas in which people developed systems for large numbers of objects indicating a strong sense of number. Evidence is given from both
Austronesian and Non-Austronesian languages. The implications for using children’s home background in terms of new starting points for education together with new understandings of mathematics in a cultural context in this country are also highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-260
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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