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Quantitative Skills

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Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Eruption Rates part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question Over the last 70 million years or so, the Hawaiian Hot Spot has been pumping out lava, a total of about 775,000 km3 worth. As the Pacific Plate has moved over the hot spot, the volcanic peaks and plateaus ...

Geologic Time Calculations part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Francisco San Juan, Elizabeth City State University
Radiometric age determination using parent/daughter composition and a radiometric decay curve.

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Percentage of Copper in Ore part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question Suppose that you are building a new house. It will take about 90 kg (198 pounds) of copper to do the electrical wiring. In order to get the copper in the first place, someone needs to mine solid rock that ...

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Depth of Buried Metamorphic Rock part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question In many high-grade metamorphic belts around the world, rocks were buried 20-30 km beneath the surface during deformation and metamorphism. How deep is that relative to the cruising altitude of a typical ...

How are Flow Conditions in Volcanic Conduits Estimated? part of Pedagogy in Action:Partners:Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum:Physical Volcanology:Examples
chuck connor
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet to calculate velocity of rising magma in steady-state Plinian eruptions using conservation of mass and momentum.

Reading Topographic Maps and Calculating Map Scale part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Leslie Kanat, Johnson State College
Use a topographic map to deliniate a watershed, draw a map bar scale, and calculate a map ratio scale.

Machines that change climate: Porsche 911 Turbo vs. Toyota Prius part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Kevin Harrison, McDaniel College
This problem illustrates how consumer decisions can influence carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, how to make back-of-the-envelope calculations, and demonstrates the power of exponential growth.

How Big is a Trillion? part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News:Examples
Stuart Boersma, Central Washington University
Perhaps the first skill needed for successful quantitative reasoning is the ability to understand a single number. Newspaper headlines over the last year have used some amazingly large figures when discussing the ...

How many sand grains on a beach? part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Alan Whittington, University of Missouri-Columbia
Short exercise designed to give students practice in determining what information is needed to answer a question, estimating an answer, and calculating an answer (including unit conversions and scientific notation). Emphasizes the relevance of large numbers to society (population, debt, etc).

Genetic and Empirical Approaches to Classifying Climates part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Charles Dodd, Shoreline Community College
Students (in groups of 3-4) are given a hypothetical planet and create a genetically based climate regionalization. Students then interpret empirical data of various climate phenomena (precipitation, temperature, evapo-transpiration) from different locations on the planet, and apply these to the Koppen system of climate classification.

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