Math and social justice unite in student presentations

Grace Palmer, Staff Writer

South math teachers Morgan Fierst and Stephanie Woldum recently attended a conference called Creating Balance in an Unjust World along with six former students. They examined the intersection of math and social justice. The conference ran the 18th through the 20th of January, and took place in San Francisco.

The six students who attended had a table where they presented work they presented critical thinking work they had done in their Algebra classes.

“[It’s] important for students to see a different perspective on math education,” Fierst stated. For this reason, both Fierst and Woldum feature critical thinking units with a focus on social justice at the beginning of each chapter during the school year. The topics use the skills the students will be learning to examine issues in the community, such as segregation in different neighborhoods of Minneapolis.

This culminates in an end of the year project with a subject that students choose, which is part of what was presented at the conference. Last year, students compiled data from different sources and made videos to present their findings, leaving Fierst “amazed at how intense students were around their projects.”

The final products can be viewed online on the Youtube channel SJM Fierst: