The following is a brief, chronological list of the projects done by my students. Each project has a short description, a summary of the mathematics involved, and the writing students had to do.
1) Who is the INS arresting? Students read a newspaper article about the disproportionate number of Mexicans the INS was arresting, relative to the national-origin percentages of undocumented people. The mathematics included percentages, ratios, and proportions, and students also had to pose their own mathematical problems based on the article. Students had to write about their view of the INS policy.
2) Morningside Park to be paved for condo parking lot. Students read a newspaper article about a developer who wanted city permission to raze a small park in order to build parking for his condominium development. They had to use two maps with two different scales to determine distance and time between various locations. Mathematics included also ratio and measurement. Students had to write about whether the condo developer should be allowed to raze the park.
3) Growth of Latino population in the metropolitan area. Students read a newspaper article and had to use percentages and graphs to answer (and pose) several questions. They had to write about the social implications of the changing demographics.
4) "Tomato pickers take on the growers." Students read a New York Times article by this name, about how the farmworkers' wages had gone down over 20 years, even without taking inflation into account. Mathematical ideas included COLA, absolute/relative comparisons, percentages, graphing, and inflation-adjustments. Students had to write about what they would do if they were in the shoes of the workers.