- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1540819
- First Name Jennifer
- Last Name Lewis
- Institution Wayne State University
- Role/Position Associate Professor
- Workshop Category Track 1: Scholarships and Stipends
- Workshop Disciplines Audience Math
- Target Audience Evaluators/Education Researchers, Higher Education Institution Administrators, Project PIs / Co-PIs / Other Faculty/Staff, School and District Administrators
- Topics STEM Content Area and/or Convergent Discipline Skills Development
- Session Length 30 minutes
Participants will learn about:
1. One example of a place-based mathematics course for social justice at the university level
2. The process involved in gaining its approval university-wide to satisfy the general education requirement in mathematics
3. How the mathematics and social content was developed for the course.
Participants will also consider how and whether this course is culturally sustaining and what that might mean at the college level in mathematics.
Participants will examine pre-post student assessments that demonstrate student growth in mathematical content, self-efficacy, and interest in mathematics from students in Detroit by the Numbers.
In 2012, Andrew Hacker wrote a scathing take-down of high school and college algebra. His argument went farther: Hacker argued that “making mathematics mandatory prevents us from discovering and developing young talent.” Around that time, our university abruptly cancelled the general education mathematics requirement. Students needed no math class during their college years to get a degree. In the past two years, the Noyce faculty at our university developed a new course to satisfy the newly reinstated general education requirement, Detroit by the Numbers, mindful of the critiques leveled by Hacker and our own students. This course extends current thinking about mathematics education from the P-12 system into a college mathematics course. Detroit by the Numbers is place-based and uses mathematics to tell the story of social issues and agencies in Detroit that are especially relevant to the lives of our undergraduate students. Students visit agencies and institutions around the city, and each unit takes on a social issue of concern to the local community, for example differential car insurance rates or the quality of the drinking water in school buildings. The mathematical content retains the rigor of traditional mathematics courses at the undergraduate level but is anchored in issues that are relevant and meaningful to college students. The development of Detroit by the Numbers was influenced by Rico Gutstein and other P-12 mathematics educators. In this session, participants will see examples of units in this class, and examine the data showing student growth in mathematical knowledge, self-efficacy, and interest in mathematics.