Cross-Curricular Mathematics

Moebius Stripper asks an interesting question, in discussing a social-justice mathematics text:

No, what bothers is this: is anyone familiar with a movement among social studies educators in secondary schools to use math in their courses, or does the movement toward interdisciplinary studies of social justice only go in the other direction?

Coming from the math-and-science side of the spectrum myself (not to mention the post-secondary world), I can’t speak directly to what is happening in social science classrooms, but it is definitely the case that students are not graduating from high school with sufficient awareness of the connections between the subjects they study. I have gotten surprise in the classroom both on the side that algebra would be expected, and that well-organized, grammatical written arguments would be expected. Not hostility – just not an assumption that, in a course about technology, either of those topics would come into play.
But there does seem to be a problematic assumption, if the generality suggested is accurate, that knowing mathematics is sufficient to equip one to speak intelligently about social science issues whereas knowing social science is not sufficient to equip one to speak intelligently about mathematics. And that should upset both the mathematicians and the social scientists.

One thought on “Cross-Curricular Mathematics

  1. I am a social studies educator who expects my students to be able to write correctly, do the math in questions that I make up, and understand scientific theories (and what the word theory means in science in contrast to what the word means in the general parlance) and be able to think their ways through the social sciences.
    I believe in rigor in learning in ALL disciplines, and I believe that students should be able to use their knowledge in any context.
    We ARE out there.
    That said, I think the textbook to which Moebius Stripper referred is idiotic and yet another example of the dumbing down trend in American education.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *