The Food Drive Task: Problem Solving for Social Justice in the Elementary Grades



mathematics education, Problem solving, social justice mathematics, interdisciplinary connections, elementary mathematics, classroom discussion


This article introduces a social justice problem-solving task designed for grades K‒2 that explores place value and food insecurities. The intentions and instructional design of the task are shared, including how the task recognizes students’ identities, leverages problem solving and use of multiple strategies, and purposefully integrates mathematical goals with interdisciplinary ELA connections through a social justice lens. Sample student work from the task and lessons learned from the instructors are shared to inspire others wishing to design and implement similar tasks in their elementary mathematics settings.


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How to Cite

Smithey, M., & Alesia Mickle Moldavan. (2023). The Food Drive Task: Problem Solving for Social Justice in the Elementary Grades. Ohio Journal of School Mathematics, 95(1), 1–9. Retrieved from