Reform in Mathematical Education : "What do We Teach For and Against?"

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Science and Mathematics


Mathematical Sciences

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Mika Munakata

Committee Member

Kenneth C. Wolff

Committee Member

Cynthia Onore

Committee Member

Monica Taylor


This study examines the implementation of a problem-based math curriculum that uses problem situations related to global warming and pollution to involve students in modeling polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic functions. Each instructional module includes activities that engage students in investigating current social justice and environmental issues.

The results of the study indicate that students participation in socially relevant mathematics applications have dual effects. On one hand, they increase their abilities to (a) model functions and (b) take the acquired concepts, facts, and skills and transfer them in new suitable situations. Moreover, students' attitudes and beliefs about (a) mathematics and (b) themselves as mathematics learners improved. On the other hand, the problem situations engaged students in inquiries that (a) developed and expanded their knowledge and awareness of issues of social justice and environment and (b) encouraged students to reflect on their own values about injustices and privilege in our society and their role as agents of change.


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