Ethno-Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (EthnoSTEM) in Sama Mat-Weaving: Implications for Classroom Teaching


Mat weaving is culturally and economically significant among the Sama people of the province of Tawi-Tawi since time immemorial. This study sought to find concepts and processes of ethnoscience, ethnotechnology, ethnoengineering, and ethnomathematics (ethnoSTEM) present in weaving tepo, a hand-woven mat of the Sama, made from indigenously processed leaves of pandan or screw pine (pandanus tectorius). To determine ethnoSTEM ideas, concepts and processes in tepo weaving, an ethnography was conducted involving five female mat weavers in a coastal village in Tawi-Tawi’s major producer of tepo, the Municipality of Tandubas. Data were gathered primarily through observations and interviews during a monthlong community immersion. The data collected were coded and analyzed thematically and triangulated through various techniques. Results revealed that ethnoscience was observed in the processes determining the dyeability of pandan strips, as well as in the procedures employed in its softening and bleaching. Ethnotechnology tools are in the form of bolo, pandan presser, pandan slitter, traditional stove, bamboo scalp scratcher, and other local cooking tools, with each tool exhibiting unique characteristics and functions needed for weaving. Ethnoengineering was evident in the preparation and boiling of pandan strips to create, bleach, and dye pandan strips for weaving and fastening the tepo. Ethnomathematics comprised primitive length measurement, arithmetic calculations, ratio and proportion, linear and quadratic equations, sinusoidal functions, basic geometric concepts, circles, symmetries, and isometries. It is concluded that the concepts and ideas of ethnoSTEM found in Sama weaving of tepo are loaded with scientific affluence that should be preserved to preclude it from fading to oblivion. Implications to classroom teaching are likewise put forward.

Author Information
Aljemedin Jaudinez, Mindanao State University Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography, Philippines
Ma. Nympha Joaquin, University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: ERI2023
Stream: Indigenous Ways of Knowing

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon