ALGEBRA & CATHOLIC SOCIAL JUSTICE ADDRESS REAL WORLD PROBLEMS
In Mr. JC Froelich '08 and Mr. Timothy Tubbs' Algebra 2 classes, students were able to connect their lesson plan with current Catholic Social Justice teaching. After studying systems of linear equations, the class was able to incorporate topics from one of Theology Department Chair Mr. Chris Merriman's Catholic Social Justice presentations. Students used their knowledge to conduct data for real world problems surrounding college graduation rates versus incarceration rates and how much both cost in Cleveland, Ohio; West Memphis, Arkansas; Newark, New Jersey; and Las Vegas, Nevada.
The first set of problems related census response rates with college graduation rates in order to find an overall population total. The second portion of problems used the population total to solve the number of incarcerated people in each city and used that number combined with the total cost of incarceration to find the average cost of incarcerating an individual. Using substitution and elimination, students were able to solve these real world linear equation problems. The results showed that the higher college graduation rates were in each city, the lower incarceration rates were. After completing the math portion of this lesson, students then discussed the results and the real impact that college graduation rates and incarceration rates have on society per year.
"The biggest takeaway for our students was that they play a role in these problems and that they have an impact on college graduation rates and incarceration rates in their hometowns. This lesson is important because our students can sometimes forget that not everyone goes home to a roof over their head, food on the table, and a warm bed to sleep in. They forget that there are real issues right here in their backyard that we as men of faith can have an impact on," says Math & IB Design Technology teacher, Mr. Froelich.
Students brainstormed on how they can positively impact these real world issues and what they can do every day to help others. Students suggested volunteering to tutor inner city students or students who need extra help within their own neighborhoods, keeping socks and granola bars in their cars to give to the homeless near highway exits and continuously donating to the Thanksgiving Food Drive and Winter Coat Collection at St. Ed's.
"This lesson taught our students that even they can support efforts that justly reduce social injustices. The results of this lesson really tied in the importance of our Holy Cross values," says Mr. Froelich. "It was interesting to hear different students' perspectives on incarceration rates and college graduation rates in Cleveland and come together to analyze data and then discuss how they can help solve some of the real issues in our world."