MATH LITERACY IS THE KEY TO 21st CENTURY CITIZENSHIP
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The Algebra Project is back in Miami!

In July 2012, 40 incoming 9th grade students and 4 teachers from Miami Northwestern Senior High in Liberty City participated in a 4-week Algebra Project Summer Institute at Florida International University (FIU) to receive instruction in mathematics, language arts, and learn about the Young People’s Project.

 

To create a Trip Line to be mathematized in class, the students and teachers toured 13 locations to map the powerful African American history of Miami, FL, and of the Liberty City neighborhood in particular. The students documented their trip with photographs and notes. The journey began at Miami Northwestern, founded in 1954, and ended at Virginia Key beach, famous for the 1945 civil rights “wade-in” to protest Jim Crow era laws that denied access to recreation based on race. The trip also included a stop at the 12th Avenue wall on the perimeter of Miami Northwestern that once segregated the black and white communities. Remnants of the wall still exist today and many Algebra Project students walk by it every day on their way to school—but knew little of its historical significance.

 

At the end of the summer, the Algebra Project students hosted an event to demonstrate and talk about mathematics and teach others about the experiential pedagogy of the Algebra Project. Representatives from government agencies, not-for-profit and community organizations, faculty and staff from Miami Northwestern and FIU, parents and community members participated. “I was so impressed with the Algebra Project students,” said Principal Wallace Aristide. “We had 40 in-coming 9th graders, coming everyday to study mathematics in the summer! That hasn’t happened at Miami Northwestern before the Algebra Project.” This cohort of students will remain together for four years in mathematics class, receiving math instruction everyday in 90-minute sessions using the Project’s instructional materials.

 

The Miami-Dade School District is supporting the project at Miami Northwestern by underwriting monthly visits by Algebra Project President Bob Moses and Director of Professional Development Bill Crombie. During these visits, the Algebra Project staff work closely with math teacher Rose Pierre and math coach, Ms. Adhar Mohamed.

 

Diamond, an Algebra Project cohort student, who was assisting one of her colleagues with integers modeling their trip, said, “with the Algebra Project math is easier and more fun. You get to know each other in the class. And the way Ms. Pierre teaches – you don’t just learn the math, you remember it.”


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