By Beth Alexander, Linden STEM Teacher and Curriculum Lead
On November 23rd, we welcomed over 200 guests at our annual Social Justice Data Fair. Each year, the fair attracts large crowds, including potential Linden families and guests from other schools, and it's always exciting to see the pride with which Linden girls present their important work.
In our elementary classes, the girls work together to choose a class theme. The Early Years and Grade 1–2 students chose to study food waste at home and in the north, and presented the results of their survey on recycling and composting as well as their comparative analysis of food prices between Toronto and Nunavut. The Grade 4–5 students created a number of interesting three-dimensional data models related to water and sanitation. Grade 6 studied the phenomena of gendered toys and women in government. Students in Grades 7–12 undertook in-depth studies by partnering with another student, and researched a range of crucial topics, including Plastics in our Oceans, Racial Inequities in Education, and Income Inequality.
This year, we expanded our displays to include work done in new technology courses that integrate with math, including CERES, TEJ (our Grade 9 electronics course), and TGJ (Media Communications Technology). These included inventions designed to help children in regions where landmines are present, assistive devices inspired by The March of Dimes' DesignAbility programme, infographics related to hunger and pollution, and wearable technology inspired by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
The fair is a genuinely “Linden” achievement, and one that demonstrates our girls' interest in using math, science, and technology to solve real problems in the world. Since its inception almost ten years ago, our fair has inspired similar events at other progressive schools, including at The Manhattan Country School in New York and at The Ancona School in Chicago.
I asked students about what the Fair meant to them. This is what they had to say:
“The Social Justice Data Fair teaches you how to use research skills in math. It's important to learn to use these skills in more than just English and history.” —Edie
“It teaches people, but it's also fun!” —Lotus
“It shows that math has applications outside of numbers. It's not just on the page—it actually matters.” —Mieko
“I learned how I could help people with disabilities.” —Kieran
“I like it because it's fun and we get to show our projects. Ours was about food waste in Toronto and Nunavut.” —Soleil
“Many boys think girls can't do math, but we're proving them wrong.” —Clara
Photo credits: Beth Alexander, Andy Pedersen, and Farida Sheralam