This is an activity that approaches diversity in several different ways, while helping your students develop a more sophisticated and refined understanding of mathematical language. The goal of the activity is to read a clue about a number between 0 and 19, and then match it to the player wearing the jersey of the same number.
Linguistic Diversity: The clues which you see here are more than just “sum” and “difference,” and all that yadda yadda yadda. In fact, these clues DEFY the “keyword” approach to solving a problem, because I’ve phrased them in such a way that it is not entirely clear what you have to do. For example, take a look at this clue:
"Subtract 3 from this player's number and you'll get 14."
If you’ve trained your student to be a “keyword bot,” the answer they'll come up with is 11, because they’ll see the words “subtract,” and the numbers 14 and 3, and assume that the equation is 14 - 3. NO WAY, JOSE! The problem (parphrased) says “Subtract 3 from this number and you’ll get 14,” which means that you actually have to add 14 and 3 to get the answer, not subtract them. Keywords are not the way to learn how to solve word problems!
Image Diversity: If you look at a lot of materials that use images of children, the artists have no clue whatsoever about how to represent diversity. On the left I’ve shown a bestselling image that attempts to show “diversity.” Ummmm, I don’t think so! I’m not going to point out how superficial this attempt is.
What I’ve done is team up with the AgitProp ClipArt Syndicate to create a soccer team that shows genuine diversity. You’ve got kids who have many different skin tones, as well as different ways of expressing their gender and ethnicity. Naba is wearing a head scarf (also known as a hijab), while Omar wears a skull cap, better known as a taqiyah. You also have different types of Asians, whether that is Kikuo, who is clearly Japanese, and Ting, who is Chinese, and Sara, who is East Asian. We also have Ellen, whose gender is decidely “non-conforming.” I’ve named the kids to have lots of different types of names, making sure they are actually possible to pronounce phonetically (for example, instead of Qiao, which does not follow English pronunciation rules.)
Anyway, you get the point. This is a really great activity, and the first of many to come.