All Title Author
Keywords Abstract

The Mathematics in the Social Studies Textbook: A Critical Content Analysis and Implications for Students’ Reasoning

DOI: 10.4236/ce.2019.101001, PP. 1-25

Keywords: Social Studies Education, Mathematics, Student Reasoning, Textbook Analysis, 10th Grade (USA)

Full-Text   Cite this paper   Add to My Lib


We report on a case study of the?mathematical?content of a 10th?grade?social studies?textbook. We develop our case in three analytical steps. First, we identify, describe, and categorize the full range of mathematics in the book. Put simply, we ask: What mathematical forms (e.g., Cartesian graphs and problems) do we find and what kinds of mathematical work do they require? Second, we characterize and critically evaluate the mathematics content in the textbook, focusing in particular on the kinds of mathematics literacy and student reasoning that the book fosters. Third and finally, we operationalize a measure of the “density” of mathematics in the textbook—that is, an estimate of the presence and pervasiveness of mathematical objects and practices relative to other disciplinary contentsand track how such “density” has changed over the past three editions of the same volume. Doing so helps us further contextualize and elaborate the prior analyses, but also surfaces shifts in the patterns of mathematics presence in that textbook series, including the growing encroachment of mathematics exercising and visual/representational presence.


[1]  Apple, M. (2007). Education, Markets, and an Audit Culture. International Journal of Educational Policies, 1, 4-19.
[2]  Apple, M., & Christian-Smith, L. (1991). The Politics of the Textbook. New York: Routledge.
[3]  Barton, K. C., & Levstik, L. S. (2004). Teaching History for the Common Good. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
[4]  Coopmans, C., Vertesi, J., Lynch, M. E., & Woolgar, S. (2014). Representation in Scientific Practice Revisited. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
[5]  Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum Press.
[6]  Glasthal, J. B. (1996). American History Math: 50 Problem-Solving Activities That Link Mathematics to Key Events in U.S. History. New York: Scholastic Inc.
[7]  Greeno, J. G., & Hall, R. P. (1997). Practicing Representation: Learning with and about Representational Forms. Phi Delta Kappan, 78, 361-368.
[8]  Gutstein, E. (2006). Reading and Writing the World with Mathematics: Toward a Pedagogy for Social Justice. New York, NY: Routledge.
[9]  Gutstein, E. (2007). “And That’s Just How It Starts”: Teaching Mathematics and Developing Students’ Agency. Teachers College Record, 109, 420-448.
[10]  Gutstein, E., & Peterson, B. (2006). Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers. Milwakee, WI: Rethinking Schools.
[11]  Hollister, B. C. (1995). Social Mathematics in the History Classroom. Social Education, 59, 14-16.
[12]  Janks, H. (2010). Literacy and Power. New York: Routledge.
[13]  Latour, B., & Woolgar, S. (1986). Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
[14]  Lee, V. R. (2010). Adaptations and Continuities in the Use and Design of Visual Representations in US Middle School Science Textbooks. International Journal of Science Education, 32, 1099-1126.
[15]  Marino, M. P. (2011). High School World History Textbooks: An Analysis of Content Focus and Chronological Approaches. The History Teacher, 44, 421-446.
[16]  Moses, M. S., & Nanna, M. J. (2007). The Testing Culture and the Persistence of High Stakes Testing Reforms. Education and Culture, 23, 55-72.
[17]  Nichols, J. (2003). Methods in School Textbook Research. International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, 3, 11-26.
[18]  Pickering, A. (1995). The Mangle of Practice.
[19]  Pólya, G. (1945). How to Solve It. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
[20]  Roberts, S. L. (2014a). Effectively Using Social Studies Textbooks in Historical Inquiry. Social Studies Research and Practice, 9, 119-128.
[21]  Roberts, S. L. (2014b). A Review of Social Studies Textbook Content Analysis since 2002. Social Studies Research and Practice, 9, 51-65.
[22]  Schoenfeld, A. (1992). Learning to Think Mathematically: Problem Solving, Meta-Cognition, and Sense Making in Mathematics. In D. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook for Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning (pp. 334-370). New York: McMillan.
[23]  Schoenfeld, A. (2007). Problem Solving in the United States, 1970-2008: Research and Theory, Practice and Politics. The International Journal of Mathematics Education, 39, 537-551.
[24]  Sleeter, C. E., & Grant, C. A. (1991). Race, Class, Gender, and Disability in Current Textbooks. In M. Apple & L. K. Christian-Smith (Eds.), The Politics of the Textbook (pp. 78–110). New York, NY: Routledge.
[25]  Stanic, G., & Kilpatrick, J. (1989). Historical Perspectives on Problem Solving in the Mathematics Curriculum. In R. Charles & E. Silver (Eds.), The Teaching and Assessing of Mathematical Problem Solving (pp. 1-22). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
[26]  Stevens, R., Wineburg, S., Herrenkohl, L., & Bell, P. (2005). The Comparative Understanding of School Subjects: Past, Present, and Future. Review of Educational Research, 75, 125-157.
[27]  Wade, R. C. (1993). Content Analysis of Social Studies Textbooks: A Review of Ten Years of Research. Theory and Research in Social Education, 21, 232-256.
[28]  Ward, K. (2006). History in the Making: An Absorbing Look into How American History Has Changed in the Telling over the Last 200 Years. New York: The New Press.


comments powered by Disqus