These informal lunch talks allow faculty to share their research with peers and students. We hope to encourage collaboration and awareness of the latest topics in our field.
Assistant Professor, STEM Education
The Mathematics in the Social Studies Textbook: A Critical Content Analysis and Implications for Students’ Reasoning
We report on a case study of the mathematical content of a 10th grade social studies textbook. We develop our case in three analytical steps. First, we identify, describe, and categorize the full range of mathematics in the book. Put simply, we ask: What mathematical forms (e.g., Cartesian graphs and problems) do we find and what kinds of mathematical work do they require? Second, we characterize and critically evaluate the mathematics content in the textbook, focusing in particular on the kinds of mathematics literacy and student reasoning that the book fosters. Third and finally, we operationalize a measure of the “density” of mathematics in the textbook—that is, an estimate of the presence and pervasiveness of mathematical objects and practices relative to other disciplinary contents—and track how such “density” has changed over the past three editions of the same volume. Doing so helps us further contextualize and elaborate the prior analyses, but also surfaces shifts in the patterns of mathematics presence in that textbook series, including the growing encroachment of mathematics exercising and visual/representational presence.