Sarah Williams’ “City Digits:Local Lotto” Project On Display at Cooper Hewitt Museum, Sep 30th

September 27, 2016
Sarah Williams, Director of the Civic Data Design Lab at DUSP will present “City Digits:Local Lotto” at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum from Sept. 30 through Feb. 26, 2017. The project will be part of Cooper Hewitt’s Exhibition, “By the People: Designing a Better America,” the third exhibition in its series on socially responsible design.

City Digits is a project to develop and pilot integrated curriculum resources and web-tools that support high school students' learning of mathematics through investigating social justice issues.Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project is organized to give local relevance to mathematics learning and open a window for students to use mathematics to understand spatial justice issues in their city. Local Lotto takes up the issue of the state-sponsored lottery, how its games work, the frequency and location of ticket sales, distribution of profits, and how the lottery as a system might affect local communities. The Local Lotto curriculum with integrated technologies enable youth to explore the mathematics of various games of chance and jackpot lottery games, analyze patterns using data visualizations of lottery spending data from their urban landscape, and conduct field research to contribute stories about the lottery from voices in the local streets. Ultimately, through their participation in City Digits: Local Lotto, students have the opportunity to use data they gathered and explored as evidence to support and voice their ideas about the lottery and its impact on their neighborhoods.

Local Lotto was piloted in two iterations with 120 students in a high school in Brooklyn, in a low-income neighborhood where lottery spending is significant. Local Lotto afforded students with the opportunity to think critically about the lottery at a variety of spatial scales, and use mathematics to support their arguments. Local Lotto supported students in learning significant and challenging mathematics related to probability and combinations which shows promise for this design with students who have struggled in traditional mathematics classrooms. City Digits’ design process and associated tools are adaptable to new themes and places, and a follow-up module (Cash City) was designed and pilot-tested on the theme of the distribution of mainstream and alternative financial institutions in New York City.

Project Leads:
Sarah Williams, Director, Civic Data Design Lab, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Valeria Mogilevich, Deputy Director, Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)
Laurie Rubel, Associate Professor, Department of Secondary Education, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (CUNY)
Teachers from New York City Department of Education

Project Sub-Teams:
City University of New York team: Vivian Lim, Kellyn Morris, Maren Hall-Wieckert
Civic Data Design Lab team: Erica Deahl, Alicia Rouault, Vikash Dat, Liqun Chen, Mike Foster, Christopher Rhie, Benjamin Golder

Center for Urban Pedagogy Team:
Christine Gaspar, Pema Domingo-Barker, Jose Ojeda (teaching artist)

New York City Department of Education team:
Lauren Shookhoff, Mathew Sullivan, Alex Cristando, Soledad Fernandez, Phiola McFarlane, Jordan Rosen Students from the Bushwick School for Social Justice

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1222430

The Cooper Hewitt exhibition series demonstrates how design can address the world’s most critical issues. “Design with the Other 90%: Cities,” on view at the United Nations in 2011, explored design solutions to the challenges created by rapid urban growth in informal settlements, commonly referred to as slums. The first exhibition in 2007, “Design for the Other 90%,” focused on design solutions that address the most basic needs for 90% of the world’s population not traditionally served by professional designers. Learn More.

Photo Credits: Student Participants Bushwick School of Social Justice, Laurie Rubel, photographers Valeria Mogilevich and Laurie Rubel