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High School Mathematics Lessons to Explore, Understand, and Respond to Social Injustice

First Edition
By: Robert Q. Berry III, Basil M. Conway IV, Brian R. Lawler, Dr. John W. Staley

With contributions from over 30 educators

Timelier than ever, teaching mathematics through the lens of social justice will connect content to students’ daily lives and fortify their mathematical understanding.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781544352596
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Mathematics Series
  • Year: 2020
  • Page Count: 328
  • Publication date: April 03, 2020

Price: $37.95

Price: $37.95
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Empower students to be the change—join the teaching mathematics for social justice movement!

We live in an era in which students have —through various media and their lived experiences— a more visceral experience of social, economic, and environmental injustices. However, when people think of social justice, mathematics is rarely the first thing that comes to mind. Through model lessons developed by over 30 diverse contributors, this book brings seemingly abstract high school mathematics content to life by connecting it to the issues students see and want to change in the world.

Along with expert guidance from the lead authors, the lessons in this book explain how to teach mathematics for self- and community-empowerment. It walks teachers step-by-step through the process of using mathematics—across all high school content domains—as a tool to explore, understand, and respond to issues of social injustice including: environmental injustice; wealth inequality; food insecurity; and gender, LGBTQ, and racial discrimination. This book features:

  • Content cross-referenced by mathematical concept and social issues
  • Downloadable instructional materials for student use
  • User-friendly and logical interior design for daily use
  • Guidance for designing and implementing social justice lessons driven by your own students’ unique passions and challenges

Timelier than ever, teaching mathematics through the lens of social justice will connect content to students’ daily lives, fortify their mathematical understanding, and expose them to issues that will make them responsive citizens and leaders in the future.



Robert Q. Berry III photo

Robert Q. Berry III

Robert Q. Berry III is the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Arizona and the Paul L. Lindsey & Kathy J. Alexander Chair. Berry served as President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), 2018–2020. He holds a B.S. in middle grades education from Old Dominion University, a M.A.T. in mathematics education from Christopher Newport University, and a Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He taught in public schools and served as a mathematics specialist.

Robert has collaborated with teachers, leaders, parents, and community members across the United States and has been a teacher at nearly all levels. These experiences have afforded him a perspective on the issues facing mathematics teaching and learning across diverse contexts. He sees himself as a teacher who is always learning and improving my professional practice. He brings a strong sense of equity and fairness, rooted in my understanding of the mathematical experiences of students of color and the belief that all students deserve access to learning environments and resources that support their engagement with mathematics. He brings an ability to establish rapport and trust with people from diverse backgrounds by working to understand their perspectives, histories, and lived experiences. He understands the importance of building partnerships and how to draw on each partner's strengths to achieve a common goal. In sum, he brings experiences and abilities that make me an effective advocate for teachers and students.

Basil M. Conway IV photo

Basil M. Conway IV

Basil Conway IV is an associate professor of mathematics education in the College of Education and Health Professions at Columbus State University and serves as the mathematics education graduate programs director. He serves on numerous doctoral committees as both a chair and methodologist. He earned his BS, MS, and PhD. in mathematics education from Auburn University in 2005, 2012, and 2015, respectively. He also completed his MS in statistical science at Colorado State University in 2010.

Basil previously spent 10 years teaching in public middle and high schools before he became a teacher educator. During this time, he also worked as an instructor at a local junior college. Over the past 17 years of service in teaching mathematics and future teachers of mathematics, he has served in various local mathematics education leadership positions and organizations including Transforming East Alabama Mathematics (TEAM-Math), Auburn University’s Teacher Leader Academy, East Alabama Council for Teachers of Mathematics, Woodrow Wilson Fellow, National Mathematics and Science Initiative, and A+ College Ready. He has published works related to teaching mathematics for social justice in numerous books and journals and has a special interest in statistics education.

Basil’s lens for teaching and student learning draws heavily from Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism in which language and culture play essential roles in human intellectual development. Thus, he believes the co-construction of knowledge is paramount in the development of students’ social, religious, and mathematical identities. He believes teachers, parents, other students, cultural norms, and other cultural communicative devices play a critical role in shaping students’ knowledge of themselves, faith, and mathematics.

Brian R. Lawler photo

Brian R. Lawler

Brian R. Lawler is currently an Associate Professor for Mathematics Education in the Bagwell College of Education at Kennesaw State University and serves as coordinator for the secondary mathematics teacher certification programs. He earned his doctorate in Mathematics Education at The University of Georgia. He received his B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University, M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from California State University Dominguez Hills, and M.A. in Mathematics from The University of Georgia.

Previously, Brian taught high school mathematics for 9 years in a variety of settings, including suburban, urban, and urban/rural settings. Throughout his quarter-century career in mathematics education, he has advised school districts and provided professional development to high school math teachers as they aim to transform their programs in order to meet the needs of all learners—in discourse-rich, heterogeneous classrooms. He is a contributing author to the second edition of the Interactive Mathematics Program, a four-year, college preparatory, problem-based high school mathematics curriculum designed particularly for untracked classrooms.

Brian draws upon a Piagetian epistemological framework, a critical pedagogy, a Deweyan progressivism, and a post-structural worldview to theorize an equitable and socially just framework for mathematics education. This emerges as a Critical Mathematics Education, in which the child’s mathematics and the mathematics of society are both held, not in tension, but as interacting, in order to understand learning and teaching of mathematics in its sociopolitical context. His research focuses on the personal epistemology of adolescent mathematical learners, and power and privilege in the science, practice, and politics of Mathematics and Mathematics Education.

Dr. John W. Staley photo

Dr. John W. Staley

John W. Staley, Ph.D., has been involved in mathematics education for over 35 years as a secondary mathematics teacher, adjunct professor, district and national leader, and consultant. During his career he has presented at state, national, and international conferences; served on many committees and task forces; facilitated workshops and professional development sessions on a variety of topics; and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science. A past president for NCSM, the mathematics education leadership organization, and past chair of the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction, he continues to serve on several advisory boards and is a co-founder of Math Milestones. He is a coauthor for Middle School (2023) and High School (2022) Mathematics Lessons to Explore, Understand, and Respond to Social Injustice (Corwin/NCTM), Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics: Initiating Critical Conversations (NCTM), and Framework for Leadership in Mathematics Education (NCSM). John’s current passion and work focuses on projects that involve changing the narrative about who is seen as being doers, learners, and teachers of mathematics, especially for African American boys and men; student readiness for Algebra and success during the transition years; and building mathematics education leaders at all levels. Follow at X @jstaley06 to learn more about his work.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface by NCTM Past-President Robert Berry and NCSM Past-President John Staley


Part I

Chapter 1 Why is Social Justice and Why Does it Matter in Teaching Mathematics

What Do We Mean by Social Justice?

What is Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice

Why Social Justice in Mathematics Education

Reflection and Action

Chapter 2 Getting Ready for Classroom

Context Matters

Context Matters

When Matters

How Matters

Chapter 3 Instructional Tools for the Social Justice Mathematics Lesson

Establishing Goals

Assessign Purposefully

Teaching Equitably

Managing Discourse


Reflection and Action

Chapter 4 Teaching the Social Justice Mathematics Lesson

Social Justice Mathematics Framework

Planning to Implement SJML

Last Words Before You Go Teach


Reflection and action

Part II

Chapter 5 Number and Quantity

5.1 The Mathematics of Transformation Resistance by Mary Candance

5.2 Do Just Some Students Take Honors Course? By Basil Conway

5.3 LISTEN to GLSEN by Bryan Meyer and John W. Staley

5.4 Estimated Wealthy Distribution in USA and the World by Enrique Ortiz

Chapter 6 Algebra and Functions

6.1 Children at the Border: Looking at the Numbers by Samantha Fletcher and Holly Anthony

6.2 Climate Change in Alaska by Basil Conway IV

6.3 Culturally Relevant Income Inequality by Andrew Reardon

6.4 Intersectionality and The Wage Gap by Stacy Jones, Carlos Gomez, HIlary Tanck, and Eric Siy

6.5 Literacy: What matters and why? By Frances Harper and Stephanie Orr

6.6 What's a Fair Living Wage? By Frances Harper

6.7 What's the Cost of Glbalization? By Allyson Hallman-Thrasher and Rachel Eriksen Brown

Chapter 7 Statistics and Probability

7.1 A False Positive by Bryan Meyer

7.2 Are you a Citizen? 2020 Census by Travis Weiland and Lisa Poling

7.3 "BBQ, Becky," Policing, and racial Justice by Mary Raygoza

7.4 Do Postal Codes Predict Test Scores? by Allyson Lam

7.5 Humanizing the Immigration Debate by Aysenur Ozturk and Steve Lewis

7.6 Prison Population by Cristina Tyris

7.7 Sampling Disaster by Ginny Powell and America Powell

Chapter 8 Geometry

8.1 Bringing Healthy Food Choices to Desert by Shakiyya Bland

8.2 Gerrymandering by Sven A. Carlsson

8.3 Making Mathematical Sense of Food Justice by Jessica Davidson, Dr. Steven Greenstein, Debasmita Bas, and Julia Davidson

8.4 Paralympics by Eric Siy, Stacy R. Jones, Carlos, Nicholas Gomez, and HIlary Tanck

Part III

Chatper 9 Voices from the Field

Success Implementing SJMLs

Planning for and Responding to Challenges

Additional Advice to Colleagues Implementing SJMLs


Closing Thoughts from Our Contributors

Chapter 10 Creating Social Justice Mathematics Lessons for your Own Classroom

Setting a Framework for an Effective SJML

Getting Started

Final Words

Appendix A Recommended readings & resources

Appendix B Resources names in lessons

Appendix C Mathematical Essential Concepts

Appendix D Social Justice Standards & Topics

Appendix E Lessons by Math Content, Social Justice Outcomes, and Social Justice Topics

Appendix F SJML Planner

Price: $37.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.

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