Math teachers have a great responsibility and a lot of material that must be taught within the school year. We hope that by using the sample lesson plans provided, and the resources suggested, we can help ease the transition of teachers from traditional approaches to lesson plans filled with meaningful ideas that incorporate human rights and encourage empathy and thoughtfulness.
Integrating Human Rights education into Mathematics is a natural fit. Use fractions to discuss world literacy. Compare workers’ wages and coffee prices in fair trade and non-fair trade work environments. Discuss and use graphs to analyze the effects of genocide on populations. Use algebraic equations for water availability around the world. Compare and contrast life expectancies and average wages. Evaluate the effects of child labour on productivity and competition. There are many ways in which human rights can be taught in the math classroom, perhaps even more than in any other subject area.
All teachers want their students to grow up to be caring and compassionate adults. We want them to become the leaders of tomorrow and change our world into a better place for everyone. By using mathematics to teach human rights, students are encouraged to critically analyze the world around them and they can begin to understand history and the present day. They can learn how they can affect the future.