Indigenous cultural contexts for STEM experiences: snow snakes’ impact on students and the community

Brant G. Miller, Gillian Roehrig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Opportunities for American Indian youth to meaningfully engage in school-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiences have historically been inadequate. As a consequence, American Indian students perform lower on standardized assessments of science education than their peers. In this article we describe the emergence of meaning for students—as well as their community—resulting from Indigenous culturally-based STEM curriculum that used an American Indian tradition as a focal context. Specifically, the game of snow snakes (Gooneginebig in Ojibwe) afforded an opportunity for STEM and culturally-based resources to work in unison. A case study research design was used with the bounded case represented by the community associated with the snow snake project. The research question guiding this study was: What forms of culturally relevant meaning do students and the community form as a result of the snow snake game? Results indicate evidence of increased student and community engagement through culturally-based STEM experiences in the form of active participation and the rejuvenation of a traditional game. Implications are discussed for using culturally-based contexts for STEM learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-58
Number of pages28
JournalCultural Studies of Science Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Community
  • Culturally-based
  • Curriculum
  • Engagement
  • STEM
  • Snow snakes


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