reposted from www.jenkintownchronicle.com
Eric Gutstein & Bob Peterson (eds). 2005. Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools. ISBN 0-942961-54-4. Paperback • 180 pages. $16.95. Publisher Info:http://rethinkingschools.org/publication/math/
By Patricia Marnien Tresnan, Mathematics Teacher, Jenkintown Schools
This book edited by Eric Gutstein and Bob Peterson is a collection of mathematics lessons contributed by a variety of middle school and high school educators that incorporates mathematics into broader discussions of social justice. The intent of the book is to present teachers with nearly ready-made lessons that expose students to a variety of social issues both in the United States and abroad. The contributors have written lessons that use mathematics as a tool to uncover, quantify, and understand social injustice, and employ mathematics to create solutions to problems of social, political, and economic inequality.
The book presents a radical new way of thinking about the teaching of math. The contributors tell of students being engaged in math class in a way that most teachers dream of. Math teachers have always sought out examples and applications that appeal to students: examples that indicate how this material can be useful to the students’ future lives. However, most textbooks and supplemental resources do a woeful job of presenting significantly interesting applications, and teachers struggle to find materials and methods that convince students of the subject’s value. This book presents several units that are designed not only to engage students in the study of math but to also convince them that they can use mathematics to critically examine their world, and take actions to improve it. The idea of being able to engage students on such a level is inspiring and thought-provoking, and will set most teachers to thinking about how to implement at least some aspects of these lessons into the curriculum. The contributions cover such topics as racial profiling, unemployment, wealth distribution, the global labor market, and slavery. The mathematical topics range from fractions and percents to data collection and integrals.
The book will not, of course, take the place of a whole year’s curriculum; but there are lessons that can be fit into or adapted to any math course from the 6th to 12th grades. However, any lesson taken out of or adapted from this book will take a great deal of thought and planning, both in the mathematics and the discussion of the social topic. Since math teachers are not trained in conducting discussions on social issues, some may be uncomfortable making the transition from talking about mathematics to a discussion that critically analyzes social issues, the ramifications they have on students’ lives, and the possible solutions to correcting the world’s inequities. Such a shift can be a daunting undertaking. The chapter contributors, teachers who have successfully implemented these lessons in their classrooms, do an excellent job making suggestions on how to lead such discussions, and also give many examples of common student responses and how to respond to them.
They teach the teachers how to Delphi the kids.
In the same article the blogger had posted an article/youtube video from ABC News reporting that Gwinnett, GA math teachers were giving out a test with a question: If a tree had 56 oranges and there were 8 slaves, and each slave picked an equal number how many oranges would each slave pick? I thought this was a hoax but it isn't. What did the school district have to say?
“In this one, the teachers were trying to do a cross-curricular activity,” Gwinnett County school district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.
Roach said the teachers were attempting to incorporate social studies into math problems.
STOP UN AGENDA 21/SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN JENKINTOWN, PA., San Carlos, CA; Norristown, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Camden, NJ; San Rafael, CA; Houston, Dallas, Austin, Texas; Gwinnett County, GA. FIGHT UN AGENDA 21/SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT in your town.
SPEAK OUT. SPEAK UP. SHARE THIS INFORMATION. MAKE FLYERS.
REFUSE TO GO ALONG TO GET ALONG. HAVE THE GUTS TO BE AN AMERICAN.