Linking Mathematics and Social Issues

How Quantitative Literacy Links Mathematics and Civic Issues

Why is this course an emerging SENCER model?

In keeping with SENCER's vision of teaching
"To" basic science and mathematics
"through" complex, capacious, and unsolved public issues,
our approach incorporates semester-long collaborative group projects involving local community issues that students can investigate by using the mathematics of MATH 102 (number sense, elementary statistics, mathematics of finance, computer spreadsheets) as tools.

What are the Civic Questions Addressed?

In our course, "civic" takes on a very local interpretation. The civic questions students investigate are primarily drawn from local campus or immediate community issues. Many topics, such as the cost of college textbooks, use of the student health center, campus parking availability and safety, have a very clear and direct impact on students' lives. The decision to emphasize local issues was influenced by a Fall 2004 survey of students on our campus, which indicated students were most interested in financial issues that directly affected them. We present below a list of the ten project topics developed during 2005-6, and we identify the three that were student generated and the one that was presented as a model. We did allow more than one group within a single section of the course to select the same topic.