Splash

Splash is a two-day program aimed at high school stiudents in the Boston and Cambridge area, although students come from all over! Classes in anything are taught by mostly people from the MIT community.

In the fall of 2013 I taught Mathematics and Social Justice, a two-hour interactive class on mathematics and social justice. Slides available on demand.

Note: I'm preparing an online class on this subject, stay tuned for more details. I'm hoping the first materials will be available this summer of 2015!

My sources of inspiration for this class were:

  • Professor David T. Kung, St. Mary's College of Maryland;
  • Radical Math website;
  • Sustainability Math website;
  • The book How to lie with statistics by Darrell Huff.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the difference between and relevance of relative versus absolute numbers.

  • Understand how graphs can be misleading.

  • Understand how basic statistics (arithmetic mean, mode and median) can be used to prove almost any point if someone is not critical of the given results.

  • Understand the difference between an increase and a rate of increase.

  • Understand the concept of the mean and variations from the mean.

  • Understand the need for a control in experiments.

  • Understand the Gini coefficient (related to the area under the curve of the cumulative income distribution), how it measures income inequality, and how imperfect this measure is.

  • Overall, understand how mathematics are used in various social justice topics, sometimes for clear explanations, sometimes as a way to muddle facts.