• Joanna O. MasingilaEmail author
  • Samson M. Muthwii
  • Patrick M. Kimani


This study examined standard 6 and 8 (Standards 6 and 8 are the sixth and eighth years, respectively, of primary level schooling in Kenya.) students’ perceptions of how they use mathematics and science outside the classroom in an attempt to learn more about students’ everyday mathematics and science practice. The knowledge of students’ everyday mathematics and science practice may assist teachers in helping students be more powerful mathematically and scientifically both in doing mathematics and science in school and out of school. Thirty-six students at an urban school and a rural school in Kenya were interviewed before and after keeping a log for a week where they recorded their everyday mathematics and science usage. Through the interviews and log sheets, we found that the mathematics that these students perceived they used outside the classroom could be classified as 1 of the 6 activities that Bishop (Educ Stud Math 19:179–191, 1988) has called the 6 fundamental mathematical activities and was also connected to their perception of whether they learned mathematics outside school. Five categories of students’ perceptions of their out-of-school science usage emerged from the data, and we found that 4 of our codes coincided with 2 activities identified by Lederman & Lederman (Sci Child 43(2):53, 2005) as part of the nature of science and 2 of Bishop’s categories. We found that the science these students perceived that they used was connected to their views of what science is.

Key words

everyday mathematics and science practice fundamental mathematical and science activities Kenyan students out-of-school mathematics and science practice perceptions 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The location of culture. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Bishop, A. J. (1988). Mathematics education in its cultural context. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 19, 179–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cobb, P. (1986). Contexts, goals, beliefs, and learning mathematics. For the Learning of Mathematics, 6(2), 2–9.Google Scholar
  4. D’Ambrosio, U. (undated). Ethnoscience and ethnomathematics: A historiographical proposal for non-Western science. Available: Ethnoscience%20and%20ethnomathematics.pdf.
  5. Driver, R., Guesne, E., & Tiberghien, A. (1985a). Children’s ideas and the learning of science. In R. Driver, E. Guesne, & A. Tiberghien (Eds.), Children’s ideas in science (pp. 1–9). Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Driver, R., Guesne, E., & Tiberghien, A. (1985b). Some features of children’s ideas and their implications for teaching. In R. Driver, E. Guesne, & A. Tiberghien (Eds.), Children’s ideas in science (pp. 193–201). Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Eisenhart, M. A. (1988). The ethnographic research tradition and mathematics education research. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 19(2), 99–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gee, J. P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses (2nd ed.). London, UK: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  9. Lederman, J. S., & Lederman, N. G. (2005). Science shorts: Classic classroom activities that spark student learning. Science and Children, 43(2), 53.Google Scholar
  10. Masingila, J. O. (1993). Learning from mathematics practice in out-of-school situations. For the Learning of Mathematics, 13(2), 18–22.Google Scholar
  11. Masingila, J. O. (1994). Mathematics practice in carpet laying. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 25(4), 430–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Masingila, J. O., Davidenko, S., & Prus-Wisniowska, E. (1996). Mathematics learning and practice in and out of school: A framework for connecting these experiences. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 31(1 & 2), 175–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Masingila, J. O. (2002). Examining students’ perceptions of their everyday mathematics practice. In M. Brenner & J. Moschkovich (Eds.), Everyday and academic mathematics in the classroom. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Monograph No. 11 (pp. 30–39). Reston, VA: NCTM.Google Scholar
  14. Moje, E. B., Ciechanowski, K. M., Kramer, K. E., Ellis, L., Carrillo, R., & Collazo, T. (2004). Working toward third space in content area literacy: An examination of everyday funds of knowledge and discourse. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(1), 38–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pinxten, R. (1989). World view and mathematics teaching. In C. Keitel (Ed.), Mathematics, education, and society. Science and Technology Document Series No. 35 (pp. 28–29). Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  16. Pompeu, G., Jr. (1994). Another definition of ethnomathematics? Newsletter of the International Study Group on Ethnomathematics, 9(2), 3.Google Scholar
  17. Resnick, L. B. (1987). Learning in and out of school. Educational Researcher, 16(9), 13–20.Google Scholar
  18. Scott, P. R. (Ed.) (1985). Ethnomathematics: What might it be? Newsletter of the International Study Group on Ethnomathematics, 1(1), 2.Google Scholar
  19. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanna O. Masingila
    • 1
    Email author
  • Samson M. Muthwii
    • 2
  • Patrick M. Kimani
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Kenyatta UniversityNairobiKenya
  3. 3.California State UniversityFullertonUSA

Personalised recommendations