Activities for the 2005-2006 School Year at University of Illinois at Chicago
- Los Rayos de CEMELA
UIC’s, Los Rayos de CEMELA, after-school project began in early 2006 with 14 third-graders and nine parents. Los Rayos de CEMELA represents a multi-level activity system that involves students, parents (in some cases, parents of the students), undergraduate facilitators, and teacher researchers. The goal of the project is to better understand the language and cultural resources students and parents use as they do mathematics, and to map the development and influence of networks among the different generations that come together in Los Rayos. The project also is the context for understanding the nature of math identities and how these identities relate, again, across the different generations.
Students meet twice a week and work with five bilingual Latino undergraduate students on activities that focus on math in the community, probability, integrated science and mathematics, and patterns. A key feature of the Los Rayos is kids’ electronic communication with a mathematics wizard, El Maga, who engages students in bilingual conversations about mathematics and other topics students come up with.
Students are also designing and presenting a digital story-board describing their adventures with the math wizard. Parents, too, will learn to do a story-board, and then, will work with children on their projects. Teachers will soon begin meeting once a week to assist in data analysis of students’ approaches to doing mathematics and the language and cultural resources they utilize.
- Social Justice High School
This is the first year of the school (one of four small high schools in a new building, each with a unique “theme”), and each school has about 100 ninth graders. The school, which grew out of a community struggle culminating in a 19-day hunger strike in 2001 by neighborhood residents, is in a Mexican immigrant community.
In January 2006, an elected official inflamed tensions and proposed remaking the school as only serving Latinos/as, effectively excluding African American students. Black students went to teachers concerned that they would be removed from the school. One of the two mathematics teachers in the social justice school proposed a week-long mathematics project with the essential question: What is an equitable solution for both communities? Students dove into the mathematical complexities, such as examining the probabilities of getting accepted if a lottery system were enacted, analyzing the impact of enlarging the boundaries in various ways, looking at the percentages and ratios of suggested proposals, and studying neighborhood demographics.