“I Eat What You Grow”: High School Partners Write about Geometry across a Big Backyard

By Bonnie S. Sunstein, Rossina Z. Liu, Arthur W. Hunsicker and Deidra F. Baker.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This article investigates how high school students, marginalized by geography, ethnicity, social class, and test scores, collaborate and solve problems when they write across 1500 miles. Begun through a grant-funded pilot project, this classroom partnership links disparate and institutionally misunderstood cultures. Rural Iowa and urban Massachusetts students converse about geometry with “low-tech” media (paper, pencil, and mail), and “distance” technologies (Skype, disposable cameras, and email). We document what happens when we link writing and math, urban and rural, allow students to share, articulate, and apply geometric concepts. Under testing pressures, across language and cultural differences—students explore, problem-solve, and describe how the curriculum fits into their (and one another’s) worlds. It illustrates how theory, practice, and research intersect in learning and teaching Math and English.

Keywords: Community Heritage, Discourse Analysis, Distance Learning, Ethnography, Identity Formation, Interdisciplinarity, Geometry, Pedagogical Technology, Reflexivity, Writing Partnerships

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 9, pp.233-250. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 932.182KB).

Prof. Bonnie S. Sunstein

Professor of English and Education, English Education and Nonfiction Writing, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA

Professor at the University of Iowa, where she directs undergraduate Nonfiction Writing and English Education and publishes books, essays, and poems most often about teaching, research, and writing. Her award-winning FieldWorking: Reading and Writing Research is in its fourth edition. She’s been a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Smithsonian, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She taught for many years in New England, and continues to teach in institutes around the country. She serves on the steering committees for both the National Day on Writing and the Norman Mailer Writing Awards. Sunstein and Hunsicker have co-presented and co-authored related work on Writing Across the Curriculum at national conferences: Imagining America, American Studies Association and American Folklore Society and the National Council of Teachers of English annual conferences, and at regional meetings both in New England (Northeastern University’s Summer Institutes), and the Midwest Association of Teachers of Mathematics. They were Summer 2010 fellows at the University of Iowa’s Obermann Center for Advanced Research.

Rossina Z. Liu

The University of Iowa, USA

Rossina Z. Liu is a nonfiction writer (MFA), a writing instructor, and a PhD student at the University of Iowa. She has written extensively about Vietnamese/American cultural practices and the teaching of writing. She is the research assistant for this project.

Arthur W. Hunsicker

Math Teacher and Literacy Coach, Dept of Mathematics, Revere High School, MA, USA

Arthur W. Hunsicker is a teacher of Mathematics and Literacy Coach at Revere High School in Revere, MA, an urban district just outside the Boston city line. Mr. Hunsicker has been a science and math teacher in two countries and three states for over thirty years. He has developed curriculum materials, at Revere High School as well as Gordon College, Hofstra and Tufts Universities, and at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Iowa. He studied and taught Rhetoric and Communication at Pennsylvania State University. He has studied geometry curricula, text and tradebooks, as well as online resources, extensively.

Deidra F. Baker

Iowa City High School, USA

Deidra F. Baker teaches mathematics at Keota Jr. Sr. High School in Keota IA, and formerly taught at Iowa City High School. She has been the recipient of STEM grants, mathematics research grants and alumni awards. She has presented at many local and regional conferences.


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