Quantitative Skills > Community > Workshop 2006 > Breakout Session: Scaling Models of How to Infuse Quantitative Skills

Scaling Models of How to Infuse the Quantitative Skills in Geoscience Education

The group came up with two "end-member" models, challenges and how to overcome these challenges.

Model 1—The institution has a General Education course requirement classified as Quantitative Natural Science.

For example at the University of Missouri it is called the "Math Reasoning Proficiency course". In this case the Geology Departments should develop large courses that teach introductory geosciences infused with math and quantitative reasoning.

As a result a larger population will be exposed to quantitative skills and the geosciences will establish themselves among the other sciences as quantitative. The challenge is that not all faculty within the department agree to put the effort into designing quantitative courses.

Model 2 The institution does not have a General Education course requirement classified as Quantitative Natural Science.
Challenges:
  • Convince other colleagues of the importance of quant skills infusion
  • Convince the institution of the importance of having the quantitative requirement

If geology is the only science some students take, how can we do to stop the "leaky pipe"?

Solutions:

Change the way you teach by being explicit about the math that is behind the concepts, usually taught in a qualitative way. The students actually need to be taken out of their comfort zone in order to learn, but not too far. This can be defined as a subtle infusion of quantitative skills, without major changes to a course, as opposed to radical infusion.

Many institutions belong to the first group (Model 1) but we do not know what is the percentage and current trend. Jen Wenner and Mona Sirbescu will try to work together and talk to Len and contact the NNN to see if it is possible to have a survey to answer this question.