Hair Weaving The Mathematical Connection

This survey examines the mathematics behind hair weaving. The observation is conducted in a little salon in Decatur, Georgia. The stylist utilizations math on a day-to-day footing. The range of the mathematics in this survey is merely focused on a little facet that occurs daily in a salon. The mathematics that is involved includes: fractals, transmutation, perimeter, numeration, appraisal, anticipation, measuring, ratios, angles, and add-on. In add-on, the survey demonstrates the importance of utilizing civilization in the schoolroom, and literature that has successfully implemented activities affecting hair gold braid and other African parts.

Context of the Study

Integrating civilization into schoolrooms is really of import. One pattern that is common in the African American civilization is hair lacing and hair weaving, where hair gold braid is a really of import measure in the hair weaving procedure. These peculiar manners are apparent in all schoolrooms across the state. Since the hairdos are prevailing in schools, associating hair weaving to curriculums will actuate the pupils ( Gilmer, 2004 ) . The pupils can function as theoretical accounts. Making the pupils a portion of the lesson will further peer interaction and construct self esteem ( Gilmer, 2004 ) . In add-on, hair weaving will supply a connexion to history. This connexion will supply the chance to larn mathematics in a contextual signifier that African American pupils are familiar with. In add-on, since hair gold braid and hair weaves are a current manner tendency, this tendency can present the historical parts of the African civilization to pupils as good, redesigning the current bringing of mathematical direction ( Weiger, 2000 ) . The fact-finding processs involved in utilizing conceptual mathematics will beef up the African American pupil ‘s critical thought, job resolution, and communicating accomplishments because the pupils are utilizing and discoursing the mathematics.

Research Questions

Through the literate reappraisal and the analysis of informations, the undermentioned inquiries will be answered at the terminal of this ethnographic survey:

What is the relationship between hair weaving ( sew- in ) and mathematics?

How make you use the historical manner parts of ancient Africans to motivate motive amongst African American young person?

How make you utilize the civilization of hair to actuate African American young persons?

Why is it of import to incorporate civilization and instruction?

How make you place the mathematical constructs in hair gold braid and hair weaving?

Concise Literature Review

African Americans take pride in their hair and their visual aspect. This is apparent in the billion dollar hair industry with adult females, work forces and kids lending to the net incomes ( Chris Rock ‘s Good Hair, 2009 ) . The billion dollar industry contains weaves, hair attention merchandises, and hair attention tools. African American adult females can pass 1000s of dollars on one weave session. Since so much accent is placed on hair, the research of schoolroom use by Gloria Gilmer ( 1998 ) is of import to African Americans. During Gloria Gilmer ‘s look intoing into hair manners of African American adult females, geometric designs and forms were discovered in the gold braid procedure ( Gilmer, 1998 ) . After farther probe, the constructs of tessellations were identified in the gold braid forms of the participants. The tessellations were easy seeable in the exposure provided in the survey. Another research worker connected the forms of hair lacing to the transmutations besides ( Eglash, 2004 ) . On the website provide by Ron Eglash cornrow plaits translate, reflect, rotate, and distend Y forms in which the Y resembles a plait stitch ( 2004 ) . Pamela Frost discovered that African fractals are non limited to hair gold braid, but can be extended to calculate artworks, genetic sciences, and biological science ( 1999 ) .

Since hair gold braid contains common taught mathematical constructs, implementing the construct is an easy undertaking. Teachers do non hold to buy extra merchandises to implement the construct, since paper and pencils can be utilized to look into fractals. It is noted that “ pupils can still larn about fractals utilizing common school supplies ” ( Frost, 1999 ) . Teachers do non hold to research a batch of information about hair gold braid and hair weaving. African American pupils come with anterior cognition about hair gold braid and hair weaving, associating their anterior cognition to geometry and fractals can help in “ building their ain individualities ” ( Frost, 1999 ) . Besides instructors can be provided with pre-written activities about the connexion of hair gold braid and mathematics ( Frost, 1999 ) .

An of import facet of utilizing hair lacing in the schoolroom is to help in the development of African American pupils and other minorities. It has been noted that Ethnomathematics such as forms in hair lacing “ respond to the demands of increasing Numberss of pupils who feel like failures for non understanding ” ( Gilmer, 2004 ) . African American pupils will see little success by lending information that they are familiar with. In the current educational systems mathematics is used to hike trial tonss, so pupil can accomplish a certain position ( Gilmer, 2004 ) . Often in this procedure minority pupils are left behind in mathematics. In other to level the playing field in mathematics, utilizing Ethnomathematics that involves cultural constructs such as hair gold braid and hair weaving will give the pupils the power to “ spot and look into ” which engages pupils ( Gilmer, 2004 ) . Student engagement aids with treating information into memory ( Woolfolk, 2004 ) . With battle, comes larning. African American pupils will hold the chance to larn mathematics and reassign the acquisition to trials and other acquisition activities ( Gilmer, 2004 ) .



This assignment provided an chance to detect an African American stylist with over 18 old ages of experience in the cosmetology concern. The stylist works in a little upscale salon with two other stylists. The ascertained stylist received her preparation from a local cosmetology school and a concern grade from Bowie State University in Maryland. The stylist stated her trade was mastered through on the occupation preparation and that school merely prepared her with the theory.

The client is a professional pedagogue that receives hair weaves every six to eight hebdomads. The client has chemically damaged hair and receives hair weaves to alleviate the mundane emphasis on her hair. Permission was given to merely enter the dorsum of the caput.

Study Design

Since hair is a portion of the African American civilization, an ethnographic attack was taken. Culture can non be examined with making a hypothesis, formal testing, and statistical analysis of informations.

Data Collection Instruments:

During the survey, a FLIP picture camera was used to enter snippings of the hair weaving procedure. In add-on, notes were written to enter the ambiance, the conversations, and the actions of the stylist. An informal interview was used to derive cognition about the client and the stylist techniques.


Initial Entry: In order to finish this survey, aid from the stylist was requested during a hebdomadal salon visit. During the solicitation, the stylist was given a transcript of the undertaking demands and a brief account about the videotaping. The stylist was concerned with the publication of the recorded techniques. She was assured that the technique was for a category undertaking with no public screenings. The stylist agreed and requested a transcript of the picture once the undertaking was completed.

Data Collection: The research worker began the observation procedure around nine 30 a.m. The observation procedure consisted of notes, informal interviews and videotaping. The research worker became an active portion of the procedure by helping with the threading of the acerate leafs. In add-on, the research worker interacted with all the other stylists and clients by supplying information about the survey and take parting in the chitchat in the salon.

Data Analysis & A ; Synthesis

In analyzing the informations received during the observation, several mathematical operations were revealed. The first mathematical construct that was revealed was fractals. Fractals are defined as the geometric forms that are repeated, which include dilations ( Frost, 1999 ) . In hair weaving, the first procedure is hair lacing. The stylist subdivisions off little parts of the hair, and so braid the hair. The plaits consist of repeated forms that resemble a “ V ” . The plait begins little towards the border of the hair and gets larger as the plait reaches the Crown of the heard.

The following mathematical construct that was revealed is transmutations which include interlingual renditions and perpendicular contemplations. As mentioned before, the plaits resemble several little V ‘s. The interlingual rendition occurs when the form of the V travels towards the Crown of the caput. The form of the V ‘s is really close together so the plaits are tight. This tightness aids with the hair weave enduring eight hebdomads. Another transmutation that is present is a perpendicular contemplation. The stylist begins with a plait on the right side of the heard and terminals at the Crown of the caput. She so begins with the left side of the caput and ends at the same topographic point. The plaits on each side of the caput are exact opposite of each other. The contemplation line is in the centre of the caput. The perpendicular refection ends at the center of the ears.

In add-on, the mathematical construct of numeration was revealed. In several cases, the stylist was observed numbering the figure of plaits on the client ‘s caput. She stated it was of import to hold the same measure of plaits on both sides of the caput. In add-on, the stylist the stylist was observed numbering the figure of weave paths as she connected the weave.

Another mathematical construct that was observed during the hair weaving procedure involves measuring and appraisal. The stylist used appraisal to mensurate the length of the weaving yarn. She removed yarn from the bobbin and used the length of her forearm to find the length. This procedure continued until the hair weave was completed. In add-on, the stylist estimates the measure of hair and the monetary value of the service. It was revealed that a anterior conversation occurred between the client and the stylist. The client shows the stylist a image and the stylist determines the measure of hair that is needed. This appraisal is of import because they stylist do non desire the client to buy extra hair.

The following mathematical construct observed is arc length. Since the measuring of the caput utilizes perimeter, which is the length of the outermost border of a circle. The plaits that travel from right to go forth could be considered to be single circles. The stylist is gauging the length of the weave paths to attach to the ‘arcs ” of the fanciful circles, which is the formal mathematical term called arc length.

Another mathematical construct that is utilised is ratios. The stylist discussed the procedure of adding colour to the hair weave. The client purchases a little package of coloured weave. Following, the stylist uses a razor to divide the weave path. Finally, the stylist combines the colour weave path to the black path. In add-on, the stylist utilised ratios in the procedure when she mixed the hair dye for another colour. The stylist did uncover that sometimes hair weave clients receive colour to dissemble the grey hairs. This peculiar client did non have hair colour.

After all of the paths were attached to the caput, the stylist used angles to cut the hair. The stylist stated she was utilizing 45 grade angles. It was hard to find the exact measuring of the angles since the stylist cut the hair quickly. Using 40 five degree angles to cut hair is a construct that the stylist learned in beauty school. During the full procedure of attaching the weave path to the plaits, the stylist created knots to guarantee the yarn did non detached. Besides in the initial threading procedure, knots were tied at the terminal of the twine every bit good. The type of knot was non determined.

The concluding mathematical construct that was revealed was add-on and minus. The stylist used mental add-on to calculate the cost of the hair weave service. Once the client paid for the service, the stylist provided alteration. There was non any grounds of numbering alteration to the client.


Listing the possibilities of mathematics being used in the universe is about impossible. Mathematics is used in many signifiers of life such as eating houses, building, auto franchises, and promenades. This use of mathematics supports systems in topographic point working. Since mathematics is apparent in the lives of pupils, it is recommended to associate practical experiences such as hair weaving to the course of study that pupils must larn. This relationship would do mathematics relevant to the universe of pupils. In add-on, supplying this experience will see pupils to possible callings that they may hold had small cognition about. Learning mathematics through practical experiences will give pupil the chance to larn why and how mathematics is used. This signifier of larning supports the constructivist theory, where acquisition is student centered and non teacher centered ( Woolfolk, 2004 ) . Another recommendation to utilizing practical experiences such as hair weaving will give the chance for pupils to larn utilizing transverse curricular activities. Since hair weaving involves chemicals, designs, and hair, pupils will hold the chance to larn chemical science, art and biological science in context. Observing and questioning a stylist will give a pupil the chance to witness the consequences of chemical procedure on the hair, to incorporate art and manner, and to larn how the organic structure develops skin, and the proper nutrition to keep healthy tegument. Besides it is recommended to give the pupils the chance to larn by making. The custodies on larning experience will advance motive. Motivation amongst African American pupils in mathematics is worsening ( Gilmer, 2004 ) . Using a pattern that is familiar to pupils can supply a gateway to engagement in the category. The pupils will be a portion of the category, taking the phobic disorder of failure, ensuing in assurance in mathematics ( Woolfolk, 2004 ) . This assurance will actuate the pupil to go on to larn mathematics since the fright of non cognizing is removed. It is besides recommended that instructors create job based acquisition instances utilizing the constructs that relates to civilization such as hair weaving. The instances would advance enquiry about the different civilization and give replies as to why a peculiar civilization patterns certain modus operandis. This window into the lives of others will assist the pupils to understand and appreciate the civilizations of others. The enquiry procedure in the job based acquisition will give the pupils picks about the methods of geting cognition and how of import the information is to their personal state of affairs. The acquisition is navigated by the pupils with instructor counsel, alternatively of driven by instructor input merely. In add-on, the pupils will hold the chance to research and take part in instructional preservations from the research about the different civilizations. The instructional conversations would advance integrity and aid in learning diverseness amongst the pupils and the instructors.