Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Heather Gallivan, Honors Thesis Advisor, Mathematics


Social justice and education; Mathematics--Study and teaching (Secondary);


Through the social justice mathematics that has been introduced into the classroom, students now explore issues in the world around them through the lens of mathematics. This study follows a class that was previously unfamiliar with social justice mathematics lessons by giving pre- and post-lesson surveys intending to show the impact of a social justice lesson that was taught over a series of three days on students’ perceptions. Specifically, I explored the impact a social justice mathematics lesson had on students’ view of themselves and mathematics. Particularly within the student perception of self, I examined the change of confidence levels as a mathematician and self-identified capacity to do mathematics before and after social justice lessons. Within the perception of mathematics, I explored the students’ perceptions of the relevance of mathematics in their own lives and the world. Further, I determined whether their perceptions of mathematics as a tool to analyze social justice issues changed after the lesson. Due to challenges with data collection, there could not be an adequate comparison between pre- and post-lesson surveys. Instead, I examined the answers given to only single surveys to discover how students are thinking about themselves and the mathematics they use in the classroom and the world around them. The results show that the one student who completed the post-survey found math to be a useful tool to analyze social justice and saw math as very relevant to the real world. I also found that the students who found math enjoyable were all somewhat confident in their ability to do mathematics. Based on my few responses, more research should be conducted to determine whether all students see the relevance of math in the real world and whether it can be used to analyze societal issues.

Year of Submission



Department of Mathematics

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (1 volume (unnumbered pages))



File Format