Math PK-2

Systems Change
Math PK-2 > Strategies > Discussing Race with students

Discussing Race with students


Discussing race with students develops their cultural awareness and can foster a positive Sense of Belonging. Students' awareness of race and racism starts at a young age, and providing opportunities to discuss race in developmentally appropriate ways can support students' Social Awareness & Relationships Skills. Practitioners implementing this strategy should be reflective and consider how their own cultural lens can impact their implementation. Engaging in training around culturally responsive teaching strategies can support educators in ensuring these conversations are positive experiences for all students.

Apply It In Your Learning Environment

  • Reflect on your own feelings about having these conversations and consider whether you may have biases around these topics based on your own experiences before you dive in with students.
  • Using simple, age appropriate language and stories that students can understand makes these conversations accessible and safe for younger students.
  • Making race visible by integrating diverse images, using culturally relevant, but not stereotypical, examples in math problems, and highlighting famous mathematicians of color helps to create environments that are conducive to having deeper conversations about race.
  • Use the mirror and windows framework (see resources) when sharing stories that present multiple perspectives to support students from culturally diverse backgrounds Sense of Belonging and help white students develop cultural awareness and see value in diverse perspectives.
  • Give students an opportunity to ask questions and help them make connections to shared stories that foster positive identity to help them make sense of their own experiences when appropriate.
  • Build trusting relationships with students and families that allow you to understand the nuances of their culture, values, and perspectives.
  • Share resources with parents and families about this topic so they can support these conversations at home.
  • Allow students to reflect on their thoughts and process their feelings in a variety of ways including drawing, discussions, and journaling.
  • Consider including non-verbal hand signals or visual cues that students can use to communicate their feelings and levels of comfort.

Apply It To Product Development

  • Ensure that math content and story problems integrate examples, images, and stories from BIPOC communities.

Use It in the Classroom

  • Incorporate a variety of ways to complete tasks and communicate ideas
  • Design It into Your Product

  • Represent multiple understandings of mathematical concepts or theories that especially highlight points of view from historically marginalized communities.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy

    Student Background
    Social and Emotional Learning
    Numeracy and Mathematics