Facts versus Beliefs

Lesson Focus and Instructional Purpose

A cohort of cross content high school teachers developed this unit plan that integrates ELA, math, and art. The unit focuses on the real world impact of statistics and algebraic expressions as they exist within complex text and not as a worksheet of problems. 

The goal of the unit is for students to  use math to make meaning of text and draw arguments based on mathematical solutions; to identify the world of the justice system as it relates to the number of people in prison and jail or on parole; and to use art and in particular, color theory, to represent the argument reached from solving the equations.

Unifying Essential Question

How can complex text and statistical numbers assist in illustrating the truth of our justice system? 

Subject Area Questions

Subject Supporting Questions
ELA What comments are made within the text that provides the authors personal opinion towards the justice system?
Math What type of measure evidence is given to assist in bolstering the author's views on the justice system?
Art In what ways are the author words presented to help in producing visual ideas towards the justice system?
Art Are words just as helpful as pictures or drawings, when describing situations to listemers/readers?
ELA Wha type of genres are used in depiccting the justice systems unjust views towards African-Americans or Latinos?
Math How can ratios provide the importance of a blind justice system versus a prejudiced justice system?

Collaborative Learning Objectives

This unit seeks to bolster students logical reasoning in presenting facts and beliefs. "How can complex text and statistical numbers assist in illustrating the truth of our justice system?" through cloze reading of The New Jim Crow Novel and other supporting texts. 

In the illustration of the truth of the justice system students will use concepts of the visual arts (visual arts standards 2.0 creative expression and 2.6 Create a two-dimensional work of art that addresses a social issue) to develop a dynamic illustration of their above found truth in the justice system.

  1. Students will be able to reading complex text and form conclusions from the statistical values within The Jim Crow Law.
  2. Students will be able to utilize statistical values in making arguments based on facts, not hearsay. 
  3. Students will establish the beliefs on facts and compare previous beliefs to these facts.
  4. Students will be able to view the context of wording and numerical values given to imagine an accurate picture of the facts.
  5. Students will develop graphs that are a creative expression of statistical facts of vital information in their view.

Subject Area Learning Objectives

Subject Learning Objective
English Language Arts/Literacy To address the concept of discerning complex text
English Langauge Arts/Literacy To analyze the context of how facts are presented
Math To notice the numerical figure of facts and the wording in solving for comprehending the meaning of a figure as it relates to the text
Math To carefully use mathematical skills in supporting facts presented by others to form valid opinions
Math To provide arguments justified with numerical values
Art To use visual effects to capture attention and display facts
Art To utilize specific color theory in the dynamic expression of social facts.

Standards Addressed

This high school math unit on the justice system integrates the ELA/literacy, math, and art standards of CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCR.W2, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.RL.5, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1, CSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1, CSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3, CSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4, Cal Visual Arts Standards 4.1, Cal Visual Arts Standards 2.0 Creative Expression, Cal Visual Arts Standards 2.1. 

 Mathematics  ELA/Literacy  Art
 CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Cal Visual Arts Standards, 2.0 Creative Expression,2.1 Solve a visual arts problem
 CSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.5 Cal Visual Arts Standards, 4.1 Articulate how personal beliefs, cultural traditions, and current social, economic, and political contexts influence the interpretation of the meaning or message in a work of art.
 CSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W2 Cal Visual Arts Standards, 2.1 Solve a visual arts problem

Close Reading Text Set

Anchor Text

The New Jim Crow

Organized Text Set and Learning Objectives

  1. How beliefs are formed - The idea of arguments formed through emotions vs data
  2. the New Jim Crow text - The material to supply the math examples
  3. Algebra textbook - support for problem solving
  4. Art text - political art is based on data and emotion

Student Activities and Tasks

Text-Dependent Questions

  1. What type of statistical evidence proves the population of prison is increasing?
  2. What is the offense for a person being arrested on possession of 50 kilograms cocaine versus 10 grams of crack? 
  3. Based on the the adjustment of law in 1980s and the prison population from 1989 - 2009, what correlation can be seen?

Formative Assessment Strategies and Tasks

Students submit an reflective response which summarizes the key concepts from the daily lesson. The respective discipline teacher will observe responses and inform other teachers about the students performance. Based on the results, the team of teachers discuss any gaps or misunderstood concepts and adjust the next lesson plans to address these issues to reinforce better comprehension for any ambiguous concepts.

Culminating Assessment

Did students view of the text change after solving the math equations? Were their views more nuanced?

  • Assessed through brief written response and class discussion (four corners, polling, question response format). 
  • These results will be then be compared to the pre-assessment surveys. 
  • The students art will also be evaluated as part of a larger political art unit to see of the cross-content lesson yielded more successful results than the control group.

Background Knowledge and Prerequisite Skills

Pre-requisite Learning

  • Students should be able to comprehend simple written text.
  • Students should be able to effectively annotate text when given specific instructions.
  • Students should know how to convert percents into decimals.
  • Students should know how to multiply decimals and whole numbers.
  • Students should understand the idea of percent increase.
  • Students should have experience in graphing linear functions.
  • Students should know how to find the degree/percent breakdown of a pie graph.
  • Students should be able to discuss and share ideas on color theory by using the text (Art) for primary research.
  • Students will understand concepts of color theory and be prepared to apply those concepts to creating graphic charts to represent their information.
  • Students will be familiar with different concepts of graphic presentation, linear charts and be able to decide how to implement the largest effect in presenting their information to their audience.
  • Students should be able to compare and contrast color schemes with each other.
  • Students should be able to attempt artistic expression through drawing and/or painting

Pre-assessment of Readiness for Learning

The unit centers focus on analyzing complex text and discerning the statistical facts within the text. At the beginning of each lesson, the students will have a warm-up that relates directly to the previous lesson. Each warm-up, will be a written response that will involve in-depth reasoning that provides their own opinion. Based on their warm-ups, the teacher will adjust the succeeding lessons to assist with instruction.

Organization of Instructional Activities

Topic: Beliefs and Facts, Data and Emotion.
How English and Math help make you better informed and more righteous citizens.

Anticipation Guide
1. Do you make decisions based on your beliefs?
2. How do your beliefs form?
3. How important is the truth to you?
4. Does math help you figure out truth?
5. How can people have wrong beliefs?
6. Should we blame society for erroneous beliefs?
7. How does social media affect your beliefs?
8. How can numbers assist in making augments?
9. What are some ways to provide people with facts?
10. What are some ways facts assist in education? (Outside of math, art, and language arts)

What is the truth about American Prisons?
Read the assembled handout. Model the way to annotate
text (3x).
Have students complete on their own.
How do we understand the text?
What type of numerical figures are used to support the truth presented in a text?

Mathematical Models (Graphical)
Numbers vs. a lot, some, a little
Which is better?

How to approach the numbers in the text...because real math is not a series of worksheets.
Teacher provided examples on essential math skills needed in discovering facts and drawing conclusions.
Full class example.
Students practiced examples, which are used in assessing skills in analyzing facts.

What do we do with these facts and our beliefs about them?
How do we share them with others? (Reading? Math problems? Images?)
What makes an effective political message?
Samples shown
full class created model
individual teams create sample.

Gallery walk. Whole class survey. Free-write response.

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