Park City Mathematics Institute
Social Justice in Mathematics
Project Abstract
Concept Map: Transformations & West African Textiles
Grade Level: High School
Subject: Geometry; Transformations
Author: Gareth Chase
Abstract: This August I will visit Ghana and Senegal as part of a Fund for Teachers grant to study the geometry of West African textile traditions. Part of the grant involves documenting how the experience will impact my work in the classroom next school year and beyond. I used my time during PCMI Social Justice working group to develop a general framework for how this experience connects to my classroom and to think about what a textiles-based geometry unit could look like. In this work I take Rochelle Gutierrez’s eight principles for Rehumanizing Mathematics as a starting point, particularly her emphases on Cultures/Histories, Living Practice, and Broadening Mathematics.
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Innovative Induction and Mathematical Code Switching
Grade Level(s): High School [12th grade project]
Subject: Problem Solving & Problem Posing [selected topics in mathematics, which include: proof-writing, graph theory, combinatorics, number theory, group theory
Author: Benjamin Dickman [with a coworker coauthor]
Abstract: The goal of my project has been to work on a paper about mathematical creativity and mathematical joy, as evidenced in an activity carried out with 12th grade students that I've taught over the past few years. Bringing 'social justice' topics into mathematics classrooms - and I believe firmly that the question of 'which classrooms allow students to experience mathematical joy?' is in the realm of social justice - is bound to be met with occasional, or frequent, push back. I am trying to think through how students, educators, and others can be empowered to speak about mathematics using formal language to respond to questions like, "Why are you playing with blocks instead of solving equations?" or "Why are you shuffling cards instead of measuring angles?" or "Where's the math?" A synopsis of the working paper I have been going through is below; a working draft of the manuscript is openly accessible here.
Synopsis: In the first part of this paper, we provide an example of a project designed to foster mathematical creativity among students at an independent, all girls school in the Northeast United States. The mathematical motivator for the project is a polyomino proof by induction first formulated by Golomb. We explain how the project has been implemented over the past three years at the school’s Innovation Lab in collaborative work between a mathematics instructor and an educational technologist, provide instructions and background information to facilitate the implementation of this project at other learning sites, and show examples of student work along with a discussion of their reactions and takeaways. In the second part of this paper, we name the practice of “mathematical code switching” and situate it within Gutiérrez’s discussion of creative insubordination in mathematics teaching. We close by discussing potential ramifications and drawbacks of incorporating mathematical code switching into our work on creativity in the context of K-12 mathematics education.
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Cultural Contributions to the Field of Mathematics (Math is NOT Just for White Men)
Grade Level(s): High School Math
Author: Rob Felix
Abstract: My goal is that all of my students see their cultures represented in the world of mathematics. We have let people believe the narrative that math is a white man’s world for far too long. It is true that there are many white men that have heavily contributed to the field of mathematics, but we must not ignore the contributions of others. Students should see that mathematicians come from all walks of life and that it is an option for them, no matter what they look like. I have built a PowerPoint presentation that is meant to be used as a resource to start this discussion with my students. I plan to use these slides for “5-minute discussions” throughout the semester. I am happy to share my findings with others, so that they may have these discussions with their own students.
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Visuals for role models in Math and Science
Grade Level(s): Middle / High
Subject: Math and Science
Author: Angela Ensminger
Abstract: In this project, I developed a format to create visual posters of men and women working in mathematics and science who also have disabilities. For our students with disabilities, the lack of visible role models can discourage them from pursuing opportunities in math and science. I have created 2 samples for students to use as they research and create their own posters. I have also compiled a list of possible mathematicians and scientists for the students to research for their own posters.
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Teaching Math for Social Justice: Revelations from Someone with (Almost) No Experience Doing It!
Grade Level(s): Pre-K through 12
Subject: Mathematics
Author: Marila Mancha-Garcia
Abstract: As a relatively novice teacher with no formal experience teaching mathematics for social justice, I came into this experience seeking a bigger picture of what social justice for math means and looks like, and what teaching methods could help me show students the power behind math as it applies to issues affecting them and their peers. This slideshow provides an overview of some revelations that make it feel more approachable to me, and will hopefully inspire others, as it has me, to reflect principles of social justice in their actions, lessons, and practice.
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Personal Exploration of Rehumanizing Mathematics
Grade Level(s): 8
Subject: Math/Science
Author: M. Muppidi
Abstract: During the working group time, I wanted to explore more about Rehumanizing Mathematics (from Rochelle Gutierrez's work) through reading additional books/articles and thinking about how to address the diversity of our school culture and student experiences in my classroom.
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Social Justice
Grade Level(s): 11th and 12th grade
Subject: Algebra II
Author: Brittany Murdock
Abstract: Social Justice can take myriad forms in a math classroom. For this working group, I have focused on four main components; building community, teacher practices, infusing social justice into the curriculum, and fostering activism. Within these four components I have organized resources I will use to rehumanize my classroom.
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Rehumanizing Grading and Assessment
Grade Level(s): Middle School
Subject: Middle School Math
Author: Jennifer Parker
Abstract: I thought about rehumanizing the way in which I asses and grade students by examining each component of my classroom that I assign a grade for. To support all students, I designed/identified new systems that provide students opportunities to collaborate and reflect on their original work before assigning a grade. In addition, I created opportunities for student to co-assign some of their grades through a self-reflection and collaborative discussion with the teacher.
Rehumanizing Discourse And Assessment In The Math Classroom
Grade Level(s): 3rd Grade
Subject: All Subjects
Author: Rebecca Zisook
Abstract: I considered teacher moves that will help to rehumanize my math classroom using Rochelle Gutierrez’s framework for rehumanizing mathematics. I did this in two ways: one by reading articles and excerpts of several books on the subject, and one by restructuring student self-assessment to allow for more self-reflection.
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Social Justice in the Classroom and Beyond
Grade Level(s): 9-12
Subject: Mathematics (Algebra1&2, Statistics)
Author: Zarina Sylvester
Abstract: My exploration these last few weeks have centered around finding the voice of African-American students in the math classroom. Although being ‘the only one’ is a definitive story and it needs to be shared, there are many different factors at play and emotions to be felt as an African American student trying to find success in the field of mathematics.
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