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Current Events + Math

The College of Education & Human Development created the Dean’s Doctoral Research Fellowship to recognize newly-admitted doctoral students for their outstanding scholarly accomplishments and academic potential. As fellows, they receive funding that supports their research projects and helps them become scholars who make significant contributions to their field of study. 

This issue of Research & Innovation highlights a selection of their research. 

by Claire Miller

Students probably expect to discuss current events from the European refugee crisis to gender bias in video gaming in their social studies classes. But what if math teachers brought these issues into their curriculum?

Headshot of Susan Cannon

Susan Cannon

During the 2015-2016 school year, doctoral fellow Susan Cannon, with support from her major advisor and Assistant Professor Stephanie Behm Cross, observed and interviewed a middle school current events math class as students deconstructed statistics from news reports and developed statistics to better understand major events.

In doing so, Cannon and Cross found that considering current events in math curriculum allowed students to use statistics in real-world contexts and opened their eyes to the nuances present in any major news story.

“This course asked students to question the taken for granted ‘truth’ of numbers and to consider how those numbers are constructed,” Cannon explained. “The students rose to this challenge and were able to critically read the news and then go out and find data so that they could better evaluate what was going on in the situation being reported. They also became aware of their own biases and bias in the media as they worked with various topics across the school year.”