The Course

Course Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 135kB Jun26 08)

Course Format

Worldwide economic, political, social and cultural forces are making it ever more important that students learn to reason, interpret and articulate quantitatively. Yet in United States quantitative literacy is still an un-addressed issue nationally. Students enrolled in the CHANCE course learn the quantitative reasoning skills that they will need to understand today's world and tomorrow's.

As statistics continue to grow as a subject of importance to the general public, CHANCE students, through discussion of problems and issues of public concern, will learn the relevance of statistical ideas in public policy. Statistics is the science of extracting information from data and it is well connected with probability and mathematics, yet it is interdisciplinary in nature. The course involves extensive reading and discussion of
current news from newspaper, journal articles and internet sites, and utilizes the Chance Database . Guest speakers and video strips, writing assignments, computer simulation and data manipulation activities, and student projects.

This course differs from traditional mathematics courses in content and organization. The class meetings will emphasize group discussion rather than traditional lecture format.

Pedagogical Methodologies

In conjunction with standard teaching and assessment tools, CHANCE uses the following innovative learning strategies:


Each student will keep a journal for the course. The Journal notebook will consist of 3 distinct parts. The first part is vocabulary list (from textbook and readings) and the third part is the homework /study notes from textbook. The middle part, the "Journal" part, is what is meant by the unqualified word journal. Journal assignments are rather open - ended and student has considerable latitude in deciding what goes into the journal- Discussion of current news through mathematical looking glass and Journal entry.

Journal should be kept on loose- leaf paper in a 3-ring binder, entries dated and pages numbered. Articles read can be taped/stapled to the page (with reference clearly cited) following related discussion and questions/answers for discussion in class. Each entry should be approximately one page in length (more is fine, less is not) dated and titled. There should be a journal entry for each class period. Write student name on each page in the upper right hand corner. Each day we will pick one or two student journal entries for class discussion. Journal will be collected and read periodically. Some suggested sources: Chance News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The New York Times, USA Today, Science, Nature, and Internet.

Guest Speakers **

Previously explored topics through Guest Speakers (some video taped)
Violence, an epidemic (Project Gun Stop)
Statistics and the Business world
Breast Cancer
Statistics behind the Television
Battered Women

** Majority of the speakers have been Spelman Alumnae (some former students of Nagambal Shah) currently professional/civic leaders in the area.