In addition to teaching mathematics, I also aim for my class to teach my students how to think critically about the world around them. Through mathematics, students can discover many truths about the world. They get the additional benefit of knowing that their knowledge and critical analysis helped them figure out this truth. I want students to develop the long-term skill of thinking critically about the numbers and facts presented to them. While the two examples I highlight are educational inequity and environmental justice, I want students to come away from my class to critically think about any problem or injustice they may come across.
There are two major advocacy explorations my students completed this year:
- Educational Inequity Advocacy (Speaking/Writing/Thinking About Advocacy)
- Environmental Justice Advocacy (Using Collective Assets to Challenge Systematic Injustices)
The educational inequity advocacy consisted of a series of conversations we had during class through exploring the statistics of educational attainment, education’s impact on income, and educational inequity in DC. The environmental justice advocacy students completed was an extension of their field trip to Kingman Island where students felt empowered to let their city council know about littering in DC.
My students learned substantially about important issues facing them and their communities through the power of mathematics. Students held deep conversations in class about important issues facing them and their communities. Students also took their knowledge into the real world by writing their city council members about the problems they investigated. My students are now equipped with the skills to identify injustices, think deeply about injustices, talk about injustices, and use their assets to fix injustices.