Student: Lydia Butters, Undergraduate Student in Secondary mathematics education, minor in physics teaching and STEM education, University of Northern Iowa
Research Mentor: Dr. Heather Gallivan
Teaching Social Justice Issues Through Mathematics Curriculum
Learning about the social injustices diverse individuals face can be implemented into formal education, specifically mathematics instruction. Further, creating meaningful and relevant experiences for students in mathematics is essential.
When students are provided opportunities to pose questions relevant to their lives, contest injustices, and challenge how the world is shaped, the true utility of mathematics becomes visible, and students can be active parts of the solution (Bush, 2019). My research consists of lessons from the textbook, High School Mathematics Lessons to Explore, Understand and Respond to Social Injustice (Berry et al., 2020) with revisions based on the interests and needs of my students (e.g. food deserts in the Midwest and ACT scores). Three lessons were taught in a statistics course at an urban high school in the Midwest, while two other lessons were conducted in a geometry content course for pre-service K-8 teachers at a Midwestern University. Overall, high school students showed growth in their understanding of social justice issues and the uses of mathematics. While college students also showed growth in their understanding of social justice issues and the uses of mathematics; they also acquired the ability to make more specific claims.