Maseeh Mathematics + Statistics Colloquium: Preliminary thoughts on the critical STEM consciousness of middle grade students
Friday, February 14, 2020 - 3:15pm

 The Maseeh Mathematics and Statistics Colloquium Series*



 Michelle Stephan, Ph.D.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte



Preliminary thoughts on the critical STEM consciousness of

middle grade students



Today’s students will be working in the most data rich world we have ever seen. Technology has made it easy to take millions of pieces of data and analyze them quickly and affordably to make important decisions about people’s lives. Several mathematicians, social scientists, and psychologists have written about the role that mathematics has played in disenfranchising already-marginalized groups. Mathematics educators who are concerned with equity and inclusion have been calling for mathematics curricula that place social justice at the center of mathematics teaching and learning. The few studies that exist typically focus on using local community contexts to engage students in using mathematics to “read and re-write” their world. Spurred by these articles, we have become interested in how we might leverage big data and other mathematical concepts to help students learn to reason ethically with mathematics so that they make moral decisions before implementing the results of their mathematical work. In other words, if we increase middle and high school students’ critical STEM consciousness, can this prevent future unjust uses of mathematics (and other STEM disciplines) so that the world does not need re-writing? We created a series of interview tasks that elicit students’ current views of the role that mathematics and data play in making impactful decisions as well as what ethical principles they draw on when they do so. I will present the preliminary results of interviews of three 8th grade students and outline a trajectory of future research.



Dr. Michelle Stephan is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education. She taught middle school mathematics in Florida for seven years before joining the College of Education. She teaches middle and secondary mathematics methods classes and provides extensive professional development to teachers in Cabarrus and Kannapolis County. Her research interests include design research methodology, mathematics for the 21st century, lesson imaging for inquiry STEM, and supporting students with special needs in mathematics.


Friday, February 14, 2020 at 3:15pm

Fariborz Maseeh Hall room B128, 1855 SW Broadway

Light refreshments served


The faculty host of this speaker is Dr. Eva Thanheiser