[mcr@lava.net (Consuelo Rogers): Mathematics Networking Project

Patrick Carney (pcarney@lunar.rutgers.edu)
Fri, 24 Oct 97 15:35:54 EDT

Thought this might be of interest to some of you.

Bro. Pat Carney

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Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 04:39:53 -1000
To: pcarney@lunar.rutgers.edu
From: mcr@lava.net (Consuelo Rogers)
Subject: Mathematics Networking Project (fwd)

>Subject: Mathematics Networking Project (fwd)
>Here is a PSR*TEC project that involved mathematics in a networking and
>multicultural context.
>Subject: Mathematics Networking Project
>The Pacific Southwest Regional Technology in Education Consortium
>(PSR*TEC), in conjunction with the networking projects, "De
>Orilla a Orilla" and I*EARN-ORILLAS, invite you to participate in
>this international exchange. All ages and languages are welcome!
> Introduction
>Students will join with others around the world in examining
>their own lives and communities and broader issues relating to
>social justice and equality from a mathematical perspective.
>In many countries, math traditionally has been studied on its
>own or linked in the curriculum with science. This project
>explores the possibilities of linking math to other areas of
>the curriculum including social studies and language arts. To
>register, please use the attached form to send us your name
>and other contact information.
>The flexible activities which follow are organized in categories
>from which teachers and students may choose. We encourage each
>class to participate in one introductory activity and one
>activity linking math to a social concern or issues of equality.
>Participatants will receive more information about contributing
>to a publication of their students' work.
> Introductory Activities
>1. WHAT MATHEMATICS MEANS TO ME (Product: A collage.) In this
> activity the students consider their attitudes and thoughts
> about mathematics, the role that math plays in their lives, or
> how they might use numeric data to describe themselves and
> their families. They then cut out numbers, symbols, or other
> text or graphics from newspapers, magazines or other publications.
> After arranging and pasting these figures onto a piece of paper
> or cardboard to create a collage, the students write about their
> work in a paragraph entitled "What Mathematics Means to Me".
>2. EVERYDAY MATH IN MY COMMUNITY (Product: Report describing an
> interview. Or alternatively, student-written math story problems
> based on the ways their families use math.) The students
> interview a relative or other adult in their community about how
> they use mathematics in their job, daily life, or studies.
> Encourage students to ask questions about the specific ways in
> which math is used, e.g. making calculations, handling money,
> creating budgets, taking measurements, analyzing numeric data,
> etc. Students then write a report or create math word problems
> for their peers based on the information they gathered.
> want to move right into the activities linking math to equity
> issues and social concerns. Feel free to send a brief message
> telling how math is taught at your school, and/or a successful
> or innovative math activity your class has done.
> Activities Linking Math
> to Social Concerns and Issues of Equality
>4. STATISTICS AND SOCIETY (Product: Analysis of a graph or chart
> showing statistical or numeric data.) In this activity the
> students create or find a graph or chart depicting some kind
> of numeric data or statistics on a theme of interest. This might
> include themes related to social, political, scientific, or
> environmental issues. After creating or finding the graph or
> chart the students explain the information that it conveys
> and write about the implications they think the data projects.
> (Note: it is important to have a written description and analysis
> of the data so we can exchange the information on the network.)
> Another approach to this activity, which can be used successfully
> with students of any age, is for students or teachers to take
> informal opinion polls in their classes. Students tally the
> responses and calculate ratios or percentages. Then they describe
> in their own words, being as explicit as possible, the findings
> and implications. Finally they can create bar or pie graphs to
> represent and share their findings. Encourage students to address
> questions of concern to the school and community, analyze the
> responses by age, gender or other characteristics of the
> respondents, and write about their findings in the school newspaper.
> actions students have taken in their communities or schools to
> promote greater equity, including a brief summary of the data and
> analysis on which those actions were based.) Have students analyze
> all the biographies in the school library on the basis of gender,
> race, class or disability. Students then categorize these and use
> percentages, fractions, and bar graphs to help them describe the
> library's biography collection. After students have gathered the
> information and analyzed the collection, they can be encouraged to
> explore why the numbers are as they are. Assist your class in
> understanding how publishing and power work.
> Next, ask students how they think and feel about the people and
> groups in the books and also how how their research influences
> the way they think about themselves. For example, when girls have
> gone through books and found only a certain number of women doing
> "important things", what does that say to them about themselves
> and what does that say to boys about their own importance? We can
> expand on that when we ask what does it mean when very few of the
> people, men or women are Latino, Asian, or African American.
> Finally, students take action to address issues of representation
> at their school site. Encourage students to find out who has the
> power to make decisions about which books are selected for
> publication and which books are selected for purchase by the school.
> Students might write letters to educational publishers. They can
> also work with the librarian, administration, and the PTA, to
> encourage a more diverse collection of books and ensure that a
> broader range of educators, students, and community members are
> included in future decision-making. Variations include:
> a. Students use CD ROM encyclopedias in their classrooms or
> libraries to gather data on the length of the selections for many
> famous people, based on their gender, and race.
> b. A group of students tours the school to collect and graph data
> on the images that appear on the school and classroom walls. Whose
> pictures and words are portrayed? Students analyze the data on the
> basis of gender, race, class or disability, comparing percentages
> of voices and images represented in each category with the
> population in their class, at their school site, in their state,
> and in their country.
> c. Students analyze entire newspaper stories. They can outline
> in one color all the stories about violence and crime, for example,
> and use another color to outline stories about people working
> for justice and peace. Similarly, one can highlight how many times
> people of color are featured in stories of crime or drug-addiction,
> and how many times they are portrayed positively.
> d. Students look at front-page photos for one month in three major
> dailies to record what percentage of front-page photo subjects are
> women or people of color and when they do appear how they are
> represented, i.e. as athletes, criminals, victims, or
> representatives of government or business.
> In each case, encourage students to use math skills of simple
> computation, averages, percents, and graphing to create displays
> on bulletin boards. Be sure to ask students to consider how these
> images affect the way they feel and how the decisions are made
> about which images or stories appear. Students can then take action
> against any inequities they might discover by writing to the
> newspapers or publishers and using their findings to teach younger
> children about the bias they detected.
> Acknowledgments
> This project was inspired by an article entitled "Teaching
> Math Across The Curriculum" by Bob Peterson which was published
> in the Fall, 1995 edition of Rethinking Schools. The ideas in
> Section 4 (Detecting Bias at Your School Site) were developed
> by Bob Peterson, an editor of Rethinking Schools and Rethinking
> Our Classrooms, and by FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in
> Reporting), a media watchdog group based in New York. We would
> like to recognize Enid Figueroa for her coordination of this
> project in Puerto Rican schools. We'd also like to thank the
> many other educators from Puerto Rico, Canada, and the U.S.
> who've helped shape this project.
> How To Participate
>Participants: All ages and languages welcome.
>Timeline: October, 1997 - April, 1998
>Registration: Please sign up by sending the attached
> registration form via e-mail to:
> orillas-math@igc.apc.org
>Send writing to: orillas-math@igc.apc.org
>Send graphics/artwork to: Kristin Brown
> 1801 SS Bar Road
> Hornbrook, CA 96044
> Tel/fax: 916/475-0410
> E-mail: krbrown@igc.apc.org
> We invite you to join us!
> Enid Figueroa, Kristin Brown, Dennis Sayers
> Co-Directors, De Orilla a Orilla
> Application Form for the Networking Project:
> "Math Power: Connecting Math to Our Lives"
>Name of teacher or student:______________________________________
>Age level of students:___________________________________________
>School Name:_____________________________________________________
>Mailing Address:_________________________________________________
>E-mail Address:__________________________________________________
>Telephone: W:____________ H:___________ Best time to call________
>When will you be ready to begin? ________________________________
>Which activities are you most interested in?
>_____ What Mathematics Means to Me
>_____ Everyday Math in My Community
>_____ Statistics and Society
>_____ Promoting Equity at Our School Site
>_____ An Idea of Your Own _______________________________________
>In which language(s) would you like to participate? _____________
>What level(s) of technology will you have access to?
>Regular mail?_________ E-mail?__________ Internet/WWW?___________
>Please send us a brief description of your class to share with the
>other participants in this project