Stuart Boersma

Mathematics

Central Washington University

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects

Activities (6)

Calculating and Comparing Tax Rates part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News:Examples
This example focuses on six letters to the editor. All six letters attempt to describe and compare the amount of taxes paid on two different incomes: $30,000 and $200,000. Tax rates are expressed in absolute dollars, tax per $1,000 of income, $1 of tax per income amount, and as percents of annual income. Students need to be able to organize the relevant information and convert each stated tax rate to a standard form to help make comparisons. Additionally, students need to be aware that letter writers may make their own mistakes!

Credit Card Analysis part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News:Examples
In this example, students are asked to obtain a credit card disclosure statement, identify the various interest rates and payment rules, and keep track of a revolving monthly balance under several payment scenarios. While modeling several months to a year of credit card statements is easily accomplished with pencil, paper, and a basic calculator, this example is also well-suited for analysis with a spreadsheet.

How Big is a Trillion? part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News:Examples
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 national debt, bailout funds, corporate bonuses, or economic stimulus packages. Millions, billions, and trillions of dollars are often encountered in such stories. The ability to process these large values and compare their relative values is essential in understanding the financial nuances to such articles. This example contains two in-depth approaches to understanding large quantities.

A Short Selection of Advertisements part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News:Examples
Advertisers constantly thrust quantitative information in our face. Product claims, store enticements, health benefits, and scores of other contexts use short quantitative arguments to catch a reader's eye (and possibly money). This example shows how one can use these ads to bring added content to a quantitative reasoning course.

Cost Effectiveness of Increased Fuel Efficiency part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News:Examples
In this example students examine and critique an argument which implies that it is not cost effective to pay for an automobile with increased fuel efficiency. Using a few reasonable assumptions shows that some of the writer's quantitative claims are not very accurate.

Accuracy and Apparent Accuracy in Medical Testing part of National Numeracy Network:Teaching Resources:Quantitative Writing:Examples
Unreviewed Activity submitted in preparation for the NNN Writing with Numbers Workshop Students investigate two quantitative issues in the field of medical testing. First, students use two way tables and information about a diagnostic test's sensitivity and specificity to investigate the probability of a patient receiving a false positive result. Second, students learn about the phenomenon of referral bias in medical testing. Students use proportional reasoning to observe the effect of doctor referral rates on the apparent sensitivity and specificity of a screening tool.

Teaching Method Module

Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News
Compiled by Stuart Boersma, Central Washington University Based on material written by Bernard L. Madison, Stuart Boersma, Caren L. Diefenderfer, and Shannon W. Dingman. What is Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with ...

Other Contribution

Stuart Boersma, Central Washington University part of National Numeracy Network:Speaker Biographies
boersmas@cwu.edu Stuart Boersma, Professor of Mathematics at Central Washington University, has lead several workshops on "Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News" for college instructors as well as ...


Events and Communities

Writing with Numbers Workshop Participants

NSF Projects Supporting QL Education Participants