Algebra 2 Teaching Portfolio

Teaching For Social Justice: Analysis of Hate Crimes in the U.S.

As a part of the statistics unit, I created my first social justice lesson during my internship year. I created this lesson as a way to get my students to start thinking about issues that impact their daily lives. Majority of my students are African American, with a few Latinx. I thought this was a good exercise for the students to analyze hate crimes in the US, since they are being more widespread in the public eye. They see it on FaceBook and other social media outlets, due to people recording them with their cell phones. I had them analyze hate crimes against African Americans, Muslims, gay men, and the physically disabled. The other groups were included for various reasons:

  • Muslims because of the rise in hate crimes since 2001 and the most recent rise due to the election of Donald Trump

  • Gay men because the community that the school is located is predominately gay. Also because there tends to be a lack of tolerance towards to LGBT community.

  • Physically disabled because I wanted my students to think about their ability that they make take for-granted.


The goal was for students to look at ​these hate crimes not just within the group they identify as. I wanted them to look at other marginalized groups and predict what social factors have impacted the number of hate crimes for that particular group. The assignment was for them to use standard deviation to see how far the numbers were from the mean. During the discussion, I had students explain to me what we can do as a community to decrease the number of hate crimes and also state if they believe the 2016 Presidential Election would have an impact on the number of hate crimes for each of the marginalized groups. 

Lesson Plan

Lesson Documents

Student Responses


Solving Systems of Equations by Elimination

As I began planning my unit on systems of equations, I knew a lot of students would struggle with solving by elimination. Graphing was easy and substitution was simple because all the had to do was plug one equation into another. I knew if I had them take notes on this, they would have a lot of questions and wouldn't understand the process. Thus, I created this lesson to help scaffold them on what to do. I broke the lesson up into two days: one for elimination with addition and another day for elimination with multiplication. There are three different tasks for each day. The first task asks the students to match the math with the steps. The second task asks them to match the steps with the math. The final task asks them to put the math and the steps in order.

I found this to be extremely helpful to my students understanding. Seeing the steps and the math already written out took out a lot of the confusion and had them focus on the process. This really benefitted them doing it this way. On the test, I had them chose any method they liked to solve the system and explain why they chose that particular method. Majority of the students used elimination and wrote that it was easy for them to do and made the most sense. 


Elimination by Addition


Elimination by Multiplication

Lesson Plan


Student Questions

Teaching Experiment

One thing I noticed about my students was they were really dependent on me as the source of all knowledge. They were reluctant to learn from their peers. I created this activity with this in mind. I wanted to give students a chance to work together and learn from each other. The initial idea was a relay race. The students compete against each other to finish their set of math problems. I wanted them to be in teams because I wanted students to be able to rely on each other for help.


Even when I put students in groups, with the hopes that they ask questions amongst each other, they still solely relied on me. Thus, for this teaching experiment, I wanted to take the responsibility off of me and put it on the students. My teaching experiment is a quiz review. They were given oe problem a a time. They had to solve the problem within their group. Everyone had to do the work on their own sheet of paper. On the board were all of the answers. (I did this so they could check as they go.) When they had their answer, they had to tell me the letter answer it corresponded to in order to recieve another problem. Each correct answer was worth 10 points. I allowed my students to pick their own groups, which is rare. I did it for the following reasons:

  1. I was offering extra credit for the top three groups to finish first

  2. They were not allowed to ask me any questions.


The second reason was crutial. This is what made my teaching experiment so successful. The responsibility for learning was put back on the students, especially the day before a quiz. They had to talk to each other and work together to figure out the correct answer. If they could not figure out an answer, I allowed them to ask me a question. But for every question they asked me, I subtracted one point from their total score for every question they asked me.

The students and myself both enjoyed this activity. They enjoyed racing against each other and I enjoyed having students take more responsibility for their learning.