Senate Expedition Using mathematics to advocate for social justice

A Better World Project supported by EL Education

At Open World Learning Community (OWL) students learn through both traditional methods and in-depth learning projects called Expeditions. In the Senate Expedition Algebra 1 students (mostly 8th graders, some 6th and 7th graders) were asked to research areas of the budget of the state of Minnesota (MN) and ask if the budget and the budget trends match where they think the budget and budget trends should go.

What: A High-Quality, multi-modal presentation to policy-makers.

Senators, Representatives, and others were invited to hear the students speak about their topics.

Filmed Presentations

Filmed in our studio so policymakers could review it again on their own time via the QR code in the Briefing Book

Hover over QR code with the camera of a smartphone to view a video!

Briefing Book

Student presentations were bound into a book that was given to the Representatives and Senators (collectively called "policymakers") so that they had a tangible take away that reminded them of what the student presented. Policymakers that were not present were delivered a Briefing Book at a later date.

Mastery of Content and Knowledge

The state of Minnesota is not a Common Core Mathematics state and the only standards in the area of Probability and Statistics in 8th grade relate to scatterplots, lines of best fit, and correlation. In this project students graphed data that they found on their own or with the help of the Minnesota Management and Budget Office and applied a line of best fit to analyze trends and correlation.

Here you can see the trend that as money spent on Public Safety goes up (green) the Violent Crime rate decreases (purple).

Students had to find their own data and adjust for inflation as necessary.

Students were also required to learn about the three types of argument: Pathos, Logos, and Ethos. They were required to start with a story that tugged at heartstrings (a Pathos argument) before they went into a data driven argument (Logos). Through the process of research and rehearsal they became experts, so their presentations took on the air of an argument from expertise (Ethos).

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