MathAction's Refugee Investigation is a hands-on interdisciplinary math investigation providing seventh graders with the opportunity to learn about the current global refugee crisis. MathAction teamed up with Doctors Without Borders & SCALE (Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity) to boost both math and global literacy.
Watch our video about MathAction in general and this specific investigation
How Does This Investigation Benefit Students?
This investigation allows students to learn what it is like to flee from home, give up possessions, and live in uncertainty about their future. It encourages students to have empathy and view refugees as human beings rather than merely statistics. MathAction works with students and teachers to address one critical and urgent challenge - supplying people in refugee crisis with adequate water.
How Is the Investigation Structured?
MathAction delivers an extraordinary four-part learning experience for seventh graders
1. In-Class MathAction Investigation
The in-class math investigation looks specifically at water usage at refugee camps. To better understand water usage, students conduct their own water audit – and estimate essential water needs per capita in a refugee camp. Afterwards, they compare their estimates with United Nations (and Doctors Without Borders) water allocations, and design a 3D model for water distribution in a refugee camp.
2. Refugee Interactive Exhibit
Next, students participate in the interactive exhibit guided by experienced refugee aid workers.
3. Student Gallery & Expert Panel
Following the exhibition, students from multiple schools convene as a community of learners to share their work, receive feedback, and exchange ideas with a panel of experts, including Doctors Without Borders field workers, math modeling experts, and refugees.
4. Knowledge to Action Plan (Optional)
Why Does This Project Need Our Attention Now?
Let's take a look at the numbers...
Today, an unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been displaced from their homes due to prosecution because of their race, religion, political views, or simply because they live in an area where conflict endangers their lives. Over half of these displaced people are children.
Why Is This an Extraordinary Project for Students?
BOOST MATH SKILLS!
- This project taps students' curiosity and links math to a real-world issue that has not yet been solved.
- Students have the chance to learn firsthand how math is used to investigate and seek solutions for complex, real-world challenges.
- This project enables young people to stand in the shoes of refugees, humanize statistics, and develop empathy.
We are committed to our mission: “to empower the next generation to use mathematics as a tool to understand – and seek solutions for – the most pressing global challenges of our time.”
By teaching this way, students see themselves in a larger world. They experience math as a global competency, and get really excited to explore solutions to problems that haven’t been solved yet by adults.
This is truly math that matters for the next generation.