Social Justice Mathematics: Supporting and Encouraging Teaching Mathematics through a Social Justice Lens
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The purpose of this project was to create a research-informed resource to help educators of Grade 4-6 students effectively integrate issues of social justice into their mathematics teaching. The Ontario mathematics curriculum (2020) emphasizes the importance of culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy in mathematics, and identifies the need for rich, high-quality instruction and tasks that reflect students’ identities and lived experiences (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2020). While the Ontario curriculum recognizes the importance of imbedding mathematics in culturally relevant themes, it continues to prioritize fundamental, abstract concepts in its curriculum expectations and supportive curriculum documents such as Focusing on the Fundamentals of Math (2018). A gap therefore exists between the province’s desire to build strong foundational skills in its elementary students, and its commitment to developing inclusive, culturally relevant mathematics classrooms. A document analysis of all ten provinces’ curriculum documents confirmed this gap, and a second data analysis on available teacher resources highlighted the lack of ready-made, research-informed instructional materials for elementary classrooms. Social Justice Mathematics is a suite of units and resources for elementary educators that helps to bridge the gap between culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy and foundational mathematics concepts. Including three complete, ready-to-use units and a plethora of additional activities and supplementary resource, this resource provides one example of how social justice issues can be integrated into elementary mathematics instruction. The open-ended, inquiry-driven and collaborative nature of this resource allows it to be easily adapted across grades and diverse needs. This resource may be a valuable tool for elementary educators interested in grounding abstract mathematical concepts in real-world examples that hold relevance to students.