Mathematics for social justice allows students to see mathematics as an analytic tool to understand and influence issues important to them and their communities. Existing work in teaching mathematics for social justice often connects to secondary curriculum. But what about elementary mathematics? This paper describes the theoretical frames and gives an example of social justice-oriented mathematics with elementary-age students. We share the process of analyzing published K-6 mathematics curriculum as an entryway to engage in investigations that raise students’ awareness of social issues and to develop their mathematical power and sense of self as mathematics thinkers and doers.

Author Biography

Cathery Yeh

Cathery Yeh is an assistant professor of mathematics education at Chapman University. Her research focuses on social justice mathematics and capturing counter-narratives of mathematics pedagogies that disrupt language, gender, and dis/ability hierarchies. Her scholarship builds on 15 years of experience teaching in dual-language classrooms in Los Angeles and abroad in China, Chile, Peru, and Costa Rica. Cathery can usually be found in her favorite place— mathematics classrooms—working and learning with students and teachers.

Brande Otis

Brande M. Otis is currently a PhD student in Urban Schooling at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Under the advisement of Dr. Robert Cooper, Brande’s research interests include social stratification in schools, racial identities, disability, and providing educational opportunities for Students of Color through school reform and policy change. Prior to continuing her education at UCLA, Brande interned as a psychologist in the Long Beach Unified School District, where she advocated with and for students with disabilities

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