Jessica Benally

University of California–Berkeley | Learning Sciences & Human Development

Research Interests: embodied cognition, ethnomathematics, geometry education, epistemology, ecological dynamics, design-based research, curriculum, and pedagogy.


I am a fifth year doctoral student in the Learning Sciences & Human Development program. My interest is in embodying Navajo/Diné Knowledge in mathematics curriculum, including land-based spatial perspectives through the Diné language. My current project leverages the egocentric and allocentric perspectives in geometry education with angles. Participants collaborate between their perspectives to connect stars of the Náhookos Bika’/Ursa Major constellation in a constructed planetarium. I am from Tohatchi, New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation, and I graduated with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of New Mexico.

Presentations and Publications:

Benally, J. (in press). Co-constructing Náhookos Bi’ka’ constellation with STARR [Demo]. In “Inclusive happiness”—Proceedings of the annual meeting of ACM SIG Interaction Design & Children 2024. Delft, The Netherlands.

Benally, J. (2024, April). Angling the stars: A Geometry Design Reconciling Indigenous and Colonial Perceptions. In D. Abrahamson (Chair) & S. Gerofsky (Discussant), In-sight out: Challenges and opportunities in learning mathematics through negotiating egocentric and allocentric perspectives. Symposium presented for the SIG Research in Mathematics Education at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, April 11–14.

Benally, J., Palatnik, A., Ryokai, K., & Abrahamson, D. (2022). Learning through negotiating conceptually generative perspectival complementarities: The case of geometry. For the Learning of Mathematics, 42(3), 34–41.

Benally, J. (2022, Mar). Braiding what matters into Mathematics Education. Presented at the Confluence roundtable at the Seeding Relations: Beyond Settler Colonial Racialized Ecologies, Harvard University Mahindra Humanities Center Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference.

Benally, J. (2020, Mar). Dynamic embodied angles in a simulated restorative planetarium. Poster accepted for presentation at the annual Research Day, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley.