Social Justice & Equity

Students learn the importance of taking a stand against prejudice. Students also experience the power of group dynamics and the positive feeling of many people coming together to create a positive expression. Ending prejudice, just like any social justice and equity project, begins with one person. Our integrated teaching unit is based around the students' demonstrating their understanding about social justice through identifying factors of prejudice across the disciplines of math, biology, and English. Students use their individual and collective power to be agents of social change.

Subject: Biology, English, Geometry
Activity: Flash Mob
After discovering and analyzing aspects of prejudice in Biology, English, and Geometry, students unify and cross the invisible boarder between subject areas. After planning the social justice message about ending prejudice, students from a variety of cultures and backgrounds work in collaborative groups to create a social justice performance. After working with their cross-curriculum and diverse teams, students participate by contributing ideas, creating props,and working in unity. SWBAT create and organize a large collaborative project that has the specific goal of communicating the idea of unity and tolerance to their community. 
After practicing the choreography for the flash mob performance at their school, SWBAT successfully perform the unity dance in front of a large group of people in a public place.

Subject: Biology
Mendelian Genetics, Punnett Squares and Beyond

Genetic information is stored in genes.  Genes are located on chromosomes inside the nucleus.  Genes contain the blueprints which determine traits such as eye color, skin color, height and blood type.  These traits are inherited from parents and passed on from generation to generation.  Each offspring contains a mix of characteristics inherited from both parents.  Many traits are the product of multiple genes and cannot be accounted for by Mendelian genetics.  Skin color is an example of a polygenic trait.  While skin color is simply the result of genetic combinations, it has larger implications in society and prejudice in the world.  Understanding that skin color and other physical traits are simply a matter of  biology may help educate the world that we human beings are all made up of the exact same organic molecules and should be treated equally.

Subject: English
Activity: The Birmingham Pledge

Students demand social justice and equity when they connect with the past of prejudice and bias in the United States when they listen to and read along to Dr. King's 1963 "Letter from Birmingham City Jail.” Students take a social justice action when they select one of the pledge statements they would like to make a personal commitment to, or to create their own one sentence commitment. Students open themselves up to each other, their community, and the world when they use technology to share their work (photograph, picture, video, images, voice, drawing, poster, or any form of creative expression and communication) and their beliefs in the name of social justice and equity in the classroom, in the school, and in their communities at home and abroad. Students also use technology to join the world stage and millions of people from different nations who have signed the Birmingham Pledge when they have their pledge added in the registry at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. 

Subject: Mathematics
Activity: Area Map Research
Social justice is illuminated when students investigate area maps along with demographics, average household income, and compare that to population density. In society it is often said that people who live in certain areas must be of a certain type. When we take a closer look at the physical constraints which are present in these areas, we can see where these prejudices arise from. What's more, is that we want to find out what we can do to inhibit the spread of these stereotypes. By bringing awareness into these students minds, we can contribute to building unity and acceptance of others. 

Subject: Mathematics
Activity: Measuring Skulls

In this activity we will be investigating the idea that a certain sized skull will be an indicator of the level of intelligence that individual will obtain. How do we measure intelligence? Are there multiple intelligences? These are some of the questions we must ask our students in order to illustrate that this idea is prejudice and has little effect on an individuals actual intelligence(s).

Subject: Mathematics
Activity: "Mathematicians of the World Unite!"

Students will be researching the impacts made by mathematicians throughout the world as well as from both genders.  Students will get into groups and choose three theorems/proofs.  One  from the following list:  a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.   Another theorem will be from a mathematician who is either a female.  And finally one from a specific region of the world.  Regions include:  South/Central America, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Pacific Islander.  Each group will be responsible for creating a Bio for each mathematician and the theorem they developed.  Students will be able to upload their work onto a mind map as a class. On the second day, in continuing the previous day's project, the students will have an opportunity to finish any research they need to do as a group in the library.  From here the students will need to begin creating their digital Bios of their mathematicians.  The students will spend this time editing the mind map that will display the mathematicians on a map of the globe.  Position on the map will reflect the origins of the mathematician they have discovered.  Finally as a group the students will reflect on what were their assumptions going into the project, what they discovered, and their thoughts about the contributions made from the world in the field of mathematics. 

Subject: Mathematics
Activity: Geo-Me

Using various geometric tools the students will be creating geometric representations of themselves over a two day period.  They will start by designing themselves and creating a 2-Dimmensional design on day one.  On day two the students will be creating models of themselves using various materials.  The students will then proceed to artistically decorate their Geo-Mes using a variety of color and take two pictures as a class.  The first picture will be of their model selves all in a community picture, positioned however the students want.  And the second picture will be their actual selves as a class in the same positions.  The students will then hold a classroom discussion about the beauty they see in the differences they have as a class but also look at the commonalities and what makes them the same.  This will support the understanding of the oneness of mankind.

Martha Kanemitsu-Parks,
Mar 19, 2013, 9:52 PM
Dawn Gernhardt,
Feb 26, 2013, 11:33 AM