Social Justice Mathematics

I’m providing information and access for two websites which can help you use mathematics to make ‘sense’ of the ‘perfect storm’ of current events. Perhaps you’ve completed this spring’20 semester and are wondering how you can begin the new term in September without ignoring what happened the preceding semester.

I suggest you explore SlowRevealGraphs (yes, that’s SLOW, not SHOW) @ https://slowrevealgraphs.com/

As the graphic header of the website describes, “An Instructional Routine to Promote Sensemaking about Data.”  Many types of graphs are revealed (line, bar, stacked, circle, double bar, and pictographs).  I suggest you examine the graphs in the Social Justice section.  You’ll find graphs titled “Incarcerated Americans”, “Who Gets Arrested for Fare Evasion (NY Subway),” and more.  Of course, there are other graphs such as “Grocery Sales at Dollar Stores and Whole Foods,” “Pay Gap (by gender, by degree)”, and many others.

I was looking at the graph, “Don’t Waste Water.”  The Slow Reveal, like many of these graphs, has no labels on the x- or y-axis.  The slide deck that accompanies graphs includes notes and questions to help you and students elicit discourse.  As students notice and wonder about the graph, predicting categories and the x-and y-axis labels are slowly revealed.

For example, here’s the first view (reveal) of a graph titled, “Daily Screen Time.”

And, after 10 slides of questions and student discussion, here’s the last of 10 ‘revealing’ slides.

You can even submit your own graphs.

__________

A second website which focuses on integrating mathematics and social issues is Teaching Tolerance @ https://www.tolerance.org/about

The website provides access to a wealth of resources including a free subscription to Teaching Tolerance Magazine. More specifically there are classroom resources such as lessons, learning plans, student texts and tasks, teaching strategies, posters, and much more.  There are 500 lessons which can be filtered by grade level (K – 2, 3 – 5, 6 – 8, 9 – 12), Social Justice Domain (Identity, Diversity, Justice, Action), 12 different subject areas including math (of course), and 8 topics (e.g. Race & Ethnicity, Gender, etc.).

There are 30 lessons which feature mathematics with 10 of those lessons appropriate for elementary level, 15 for middle grade level, and 16 for secondary (many of these levels overlap, of course).

As an example, one lesson which uses math and technology is:

Among its objectives are:

  • Students will display statistics in a variety of forms.
  • Students will analyze data.

Have you used any of these in your classroom? Would you use social justice as an exploratory theme for teaching mathematics? We’d love to hear from you; make a comment below.

Would you like more posts like this – reviews of 3-4 math websites, or something else? Tell us what would be most helpful right now or for the term following summer ‘break’?

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Have a question for the authors? Email us at  congruentthoughts@nl.edu or tweet us @ProfessorAleksV and @GeorgeLitman1

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