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Mathematics for Social Justice: Resources for the College Classroom

Gizem Karaali, and Lily S. Khadjavi, editors
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
Classroom Resource Materials
[Reviewed by
Paula R. Stickles
, on
For mathematics faculty who are interested in incorporating questions regarding social justice into their classrooms, Mathematics for Social Justice offers a variety of resources that can kick start the process.  This book is a collection of essays and modules that gives the reader a plethora of ideas for integrating questions of social justice into the mathematics classroom.
The initial chapter of the book describes how the publication came about, the structure of the book and how to use it, an overview of the modules, and includes two tables that categorize the modules by mathematical content and by seven broad social justice themes.  The tables are invaluable for reference when planning the implementation of the modules.
The next five chapters of the book are a collection of essays written by instructors who are experienced at teaching using social justice questions.  The instructors share the motivation behind the modules and the details of implementing such questions into their classrooms as well as practical teaching advice for success as well as avoiding pitfalls.
The modules are the foundation of the book.  The topics of the modules range from voting practices to modeling an oil spill and human trafficking to sea-level change.  The mathematical content ranges from college algebra to discrete mathematics to differential equations.  There are modules that can be used in a general education course and others that would need to be mathematics specific.   
The structure of each module is consistent throughout the fourteen chapters with each chapter containing an abstract with keywords and six sections: Mathematical Content, Context/Background, Instructor Preparation, The Module, Additional Thoughts, and a Bibliography.  Besides the obvious headings, the Context/Background section contains items such as the political and/or institutional background and economic and social context.  The Instructor Preparation includes information for the role and responsibilities of the instructor before, during, and after class.  In the Additional Thoughts sections, there are extensions, possible variations of the module, and appendices that include items such as handouts, assignments, tables, datasets, and samples of worksheets and/or quizzes.     
Mathematics for Social Justice is an excellent resource for faculty teaching quantitative literacy courses or for faculty looking to integrate social justice questions into their mathematics classrooms. 
Paula R. Stickles ( is a Professor of Mathematics at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois.  Her research interests include the scholarship of teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics, pre-service mathematics teachers’ training, developmental mathematics, and quantitative literacy.