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Although mathematics can be used as an important tool for social problem-solving, insights on how it can be utilized to contribute to an understanding of societal problems is lost on many U.S. high school students. This brief continuing education course, developed using information from Democracy in Education, begins to examine how students view mathematics as a means to explore social issues. Perspectives on the nature and purpose of math as a social inquiry instrument are presented as well as study results examining how students perceive socially relevant math applications.
1. Describe how mathematics can be used as a tool for social critique and how it can be utilized to solve real-world problems.
2. Identify what research says about students’ perceptions of math as social inquiry tool.
3. Discuss study methods and findings related to using mathematics in the classroom to explore social issues.
4. Evaluate students’ responses to the compelling nature of viewing social justice through a mathematical lens.
5. Outline challenges and limitations faced when using mathematics as a tool for social inquiry.
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