An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog

An educator blogging….novel idea.

Investigating Social Inequity in the Mathematics Classroom

with 6 comments

I came across this Mission Local article about Taica Hsu, a secondary mathematics teacher in an underserved community, who teaches his students to use math to investigate social inequities.

“Where most see numbers, Hsu sees tools. His students do projects in which they apply mathematical principles to illustrate social inequities, sparking discussions of race, class and sexual orientation.

In his world, trigonometry points to justice. Algebra leads to equality. Math is the vehicle, but consciousness-raising is the end.

On one wall, of his purple-painted classroom, posters proclaim the ills of war and social stratification. On another, algebra students’ projects statistically break down the injustices of homeless, drugs and teen pregnancy.”

Growing up, I hated math. I struggled and went to math summer school. I couldn’t understand why algebra mattered and how I could use calculus in my life. I thought I would take the minimal amount of math classes required by my university and call it quits. In my first year of college, I took my first economics class. My professor let me do a project about NAFTA and social justice issues. I was hooked. I struggled through statistics and econometrics courses. In senior year, I did a year-long thesis about the determinants of civil war battle deaths for countries already engaged in civil war. Now, I use my understanding of math and econometrics to consume research that informs my teaching and helps me understand inequality. (Don’t tell my friends I browse EconLit on Friday nights….). Math is empowering – it provides us with a special lens for understanding our world.

Are your students investigating inequity in your math classroom? If so, how? Stay tuned for lesson plans.

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6 Responses

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  1. What a cool idea – I’m a Language Arts teacher, and incorporate a lot of socially conscious content into my class, but I’d never thought about how math teachers could do the same. That’s awesome.

    Allison

    29 March 2009 at 7:38 pm

  2. [...] Math: Are students exploring inequities around the world or in their communities? Use Google Earth, Google Spreadsheet, and other tools to create a dynamic KML about these [...]

  3. [...] you are looking for an interesting field to apply math skills:  TeacherC presents Investigating Social Inequity in the Mathematics Classroom posted at An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog. The mathematics classroom is a place where students [...]

  4. [...] TeacherC at An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog with Investigating Social Inequity in the Mathematics Classroom [...]

  5. I would love to hear more about this! I am taking an month-long overview course right now for GED math teachers. I’ve always been relatively good with math, but have been totally math-phobic at the same time, so I’m very nervous about using math in ways that take me out of my comfort zone. I’d love to hear more about the ways you use math, and would welcome any suggestions for texts that might help me feel more comfortable and confident teaching math. (girlgriot|at|gmail|dot|com)

    girlgriot

    14 April 2009 at 8:52 am

  6. [...] TeacherC at An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog with Investigating Social Inequity in the Mathematics Classroom [...]


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