The Young People’s Project (YPP) is an outgrowth of the Algebra Project, “a national mathematics literacy effort aimed at helping low income students and students of color successfully acquire mathematical skills that are a prerequisite for a college preparatory mathematics sequence in high school and full citizenship in today’s technological society.” YPP joins the Algebra Project in its belief that all the children who live in the country are children of the country and that they have the right to a high quality public school education.
YPP has developed a pipeline for young people to invest in themselves, each other, and their communities, as well as platforms to harness the power of their culture to promote and value, those things required for individual and community success and well being. These platforms also serve as a way for our members to support, challenge, and demand the just and effective functioning of institutions and systems, theoretically created to serve their families and communities.
At each site YPP conducts on going training and development of all of its current and incoming Math Literacy Workers. This training model was developed in part by the support of multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation - Division of Informal Math and Science Learning and a cohort of National YPP and Algebra Project trainers.
Teams of high school MLWs, led by a college Math Literacy Worker (CMLW), conduct workshops for students in grades K-8. These workshops take place at various outreach sites, such as afterschool programs, churches and community centers. Workshops are organized around math-based games and collective experiences, and emphasize individual reflection, small group work, teamwork and discussion. The implementation of these workshops is central to the growth of Math Literacy Workers, supporting their academic and social development. This work also helps to build their emerging identity as catalysts, helping family and community members understand that success in math is important and attainable for all children.
Flagway™ Workshops. Include factoring and categorizing numbers based on the Möbius function to introduce core math concepts - identifying and factoring prime and composite numbers, combinations, exponents, algebraic substitution, and the mathematical concept of function.
Student-Designed Math Playbook. Teams of middle school students develop a playbook for educators to incorporate math into their daily lessons.
Community Events for Math Literacy
YPP creates a space within the neighborhoods we work for young people, their parents, teachers and community members to come together and learn mathematics. By facilitating community-based workshops and events, high school students are given an opportunity to share their skills with their peers and community members. As a result, young people are engaged in a cycle of learning which supports their personal development while involving them in a wealth of experiences that broadens their perspective on how they can impact their community. We see this as the catalyst to developing a cycle in which MLWs build a critical mass of young people and parents in their communities who take responsibility for their education and ensure that younger community members have the drive, skills and work habits that will allow them to develop to their full potential.
Flagway™ Game Days and Tournaments.
Participating in Flagway™ bolsters students’ skills and how they view themselves. Flagway™ participants, both MLWs and students, see themselves as mathematicians. Research shows that identity, engagement, and motivation are key elements of students’ success. Flagway™ builds on students’ strengths, provides them with an entry point, and helps them believe in themselves. In 2020, the annual national Flagway Tournament went virtual. The tournament features a friendly competition and fun activities aligned with the Flagway™ curriculum for students across the country who participated in Flagway™ programs. Individual players have a fixed time period to play Flagway™-based games, designed and built by MLWs on the Kahoot platform. Activities include identifying even vs. odd and prime vs. composite numbers; prime factorization; algebraic substitution; and “Flagway™ Rules” mastery. Players access a custom iPhone/iPad Flagway™ mobile game called DigiFlagway™ which tracks their performance and aggregates them as points for their home team.
The output of the Exploring STEM Literacy course (described below) is a pop-up coding boot camp, where course participants design and implement activities for younger students. The boot camps introduce students to concepts around the integration of math with computer science - with the larger goal of strengthening the pipeline of STEM learning.
Elective Courses & Other Programs
Math and Coding programs integrate YPP's traditional mathematics literacy curriculum with emerging computer programming skill sets.
Exploring STEM Literacy Course. Combines computer science with project-based learning where 9th-11th graders lead integrated math and coding experiences for middle-schoolers. A foundation for further STEM learning, the course, which is taught by YPP instructors and/or MLWs, integrates experiential-based learning about coding as it underlies digital technology with foundational middle school math concepts.
Computational Thinking Labs. Summer and winter break programs taught by MLWs for rising 8th and 9th graders to deepen their learning and dedication to math and computer science. The labs focus on computational thinking, programming languages, Fermi Problems, utilizing data to tell stories, and learning how to plan and execute a successful workshop. They take place over a school break (1-2 weeks) or summer vacation (6 weeks).