Teaching Mathematics for Spatial Justice: An Investigation of the Lottery

Laurie H. Rubel, Vivian Y. Lim, Maren Hall-Wieckert, Mathew Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores integrating place-based education with critical mathematics toward teaching mathematics for spatial justice. Local Lotto, a curricular module with associated digital tools, was designed to investigate the lottery as a critical spatial phenomenon and piloted in urban high schools. This article describes findings from the second iteration in a remedial class in a low-income neighborhood. The research questions consider how the spatial focus supported the learning of mathematics and provided opportunities for students to think critically about the lottery using that mathematics. Findings include student interest in and engagement with the theme of the lottery familiar from outside of school with associated social justice implications. Students used mathematics and spatial evidence, at various levels of spatial scale, to support arguments about the lottery with greater success at narrower levels of scale. Suggestions about further innovations to scaffold place in a “critical pedagogy of place” in mathematics are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalCognition and Instruction
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1222430. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • General Psychology


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