The Math You Need, When You Need It
Math tutorials for students in introductory geosciences
Available quantitative topics
by Dr. Jennifer M. Wenner, UW Oshkosh Geology Department
and Dr. Eric M. Baer, Highline Community College Geology Program
What is The Math You Need, When You Need It?
A series of student-centered web-based quantitative topics that can be customized to and run concurrently with any introductory geoscience course
The Math You Need, When You Need It is a project that seeks to help remediate mathematics for introductory geoscience students. The Math You Need modules are student-centered, online, asynchronous tutorials that cover quantitative topics that faculty have deemed important to introductory geoscience courses. Each topic is presented in a geoscience context with student pages that (1) introduce the concept and present an algorithm for solving problems, (2) a set of practice problems with worked answers and (3) provide an opportunity to show what they learned with an online quiz. Instructors will also find a link to a page designed for them. The tutorials are designed to give students quantitative knowledge that they need, just before they will use it in a concurrent geoscience course. Recent implementations at a variety of institutions suggest, through pre- and post-testing, that the tutorials are effective at remediating mathematics.
learn more here
Why use The Math You Need, When You Need It?
To support and promote students' quantitative learning without using valuable classroom time
- One of three main factors for improving student retention at both two- and four-year institutions is learning support including supplemental instruction – What works in Student Retention, ACT, 2004
The web resources employ innovative instructional techniques steeped in best practices in mathematics and geoscience education, thereby generating modules that advance students' knowledge and understanding of mathematics across the geosciences curriculum. Combined with classroom examples of quantitative concepts in a geoscience context, these web resources can begin to address concerns about mathematics prerequisites and remediation, including difficulties with teaching large numbers of students from diverse backgrounds, course adaptation to students' preexisting knowledge, and student self-assessment and monitoring (NSF 2006; NRC, 2003; 2005).learn more here
How do I use The Math You Need, When You Need It?
Assess student needs using the pre-test, assign students appropriate modules and quizzes, and use quantitative examples in a geoscience context in your classroomlearn more here
References and Resources
The Teaching Quantitative Skills in the Geosciences website has activities, teaching techniques, student resources and issues faced by instructors wishing to include quantitative skills in their courses.
- The teaching techniques portion of this site also has a section specifically geared toward teaching quantitative literacy in introductory geoscience courses
The Journal of Geoscience Educationruns a regular column on mathematics in the geosciences: Computational Geology
Washington Center ( This site may be offline. ) for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education has a page about quantitative literacy.
- One of Washington Center's projects is Len Vacher's Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum.
This project is supported by the National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education through awards
DUE-0633402 and DUE-0633755 and