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Sustainability in Math Activities


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Bakken Oil From Shale, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Global Oil Economics part of Activities
Robert McConnell
Students work with oil production data to assess the environmental impact, and economic controls, of oil production and consumption.

Who Goes There? Estimating Ocean Populations in Chincoteague Bay part of Activities
Maria Hernandez; Itnuit Janovitz-Freireich
In this activity students use data to: rank species on the food chain, compute energy flow ratios and estimate fish populations in the Chincoteague Bay. Students also discuss the impact of the ecosystem and humans on this population, with an extension activity calculating the biodiversity of the system.

Biking vs Driving part of Activities
Deirdre Smeltzer, Eastern Mennonite University
How much difference would biking to work one day per week make?

How Biodiverse is Lake Superior? An exercise in proportions. part of Activities
Stephanie Kajpust
Students use critical thinking and algebra to measure and evaluate the biodiversity in Lake Superior.

Salt Marshes: estimation techniques using basic algebra and geometry part of Activities
Yelena Meadows, Upper Iowa University; Sharareh Nikbakht, Appalachian State University
The activity allows for learning about salt marshes ecosystem and practicing of basic math in estimations.

Trawl Data Exploration in Multivariable Calculus part of Activities
Kris Green
This activity is based on exploring the data collected from all trawls around the Chincoteague Bay from 2005 - 2014. Students can construct their own contour diagrams as they cross section the data based on their own choices. This database could also be used to support similar activities in statistics or graph theory.

Fitting and Estimating Rates of Change in the Functions Underlying Earth's Bio-Development Over Time part of Activities
Alan Ableson; Jennifer Bready
What is happening in our world? How has the temperature changed? Have oxygen and carbon dioxide levels changed? How does this effect biodiversity? In this lab, we will investigate the changes in these four variables over various time periods to see how they relate.

Estimating OUR Carbon Footprint part of Activities
Ben Galluzzo, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania; Jean McGivney-Burelle; Rikki Wagstrom, Metropolitan State University
Description here.

Hybrid Vehicles: Are They Worth It? part of Activities
Lori Carmack
In this project, students analyze the costs of gasoline nationwide. They also investigate the cost-effectiveness of purchasing a new hybrid vehicle as opposed to purchasing a new vehicle that runs solely on gasoline.

Sustainability Efforts on Our Campus: A Mathematical Analysis part of Activities
Lori Carmack
In these open-ended but simple activities, students use basic mathematics and descriptive statistics to analyze campus sustainability efforts.

Population Growth, Ecological Footprints, and Overshoot part of Activities
Rikki Wagstrom, Metropolitan State University
In this activity, students develop and apply linear, exponential, and rational functions to explore past and projected U.S. population growth, carbon footprint trend, ecological overshoot, and effectiveness of hypothetical carbon dioxide reduction initiatives.

Choosing Between Home Appliances: Benefits to the Planet and Your Wallet part of Activities
Corri Taylor, Wellesley College
Students research various options for new appliances and make purchasing decisions based not merely on purchase price, but also on energy efficiency, which has implications for the planet AND for longer-term personal finances. Students calculate the "payback period" for the more energy efficient appliance and calculate long-term savings.

A Monarchy Deposed: The Demise of the Monarch Butterfly part of Activities
Daniel Abel, Coastal Carolina University
Monarch butterflies (scientific name: Danaus plexippus) migrate annually to forests in central Mexico from Canada and California. Those surviving the 1200 - 2800 mile migration overwinter in Mexico. In this activity, students will learn about the conservation biology of monarch butterflies, threats to their survival, the implications of their potential extinction, and ways to protect the species.

Economics of installing Solar PV panels: is it worth it to the individual? part of Activities
Martin Walter, University of Colorado at Boulder
We show that it is economical for an individual to install solar photovoltaic panels in Denver, Colorado; and this is a sustainable strategy for society at large.

Replacing Household Appliances: Refrigerator part of Activities
Krys Stave, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
In this problem, students compare the energy use of their existing refrigerator with a new refrigerator.

Energy Cost of Engine Idling part of Activities
Ben Fusaro, Florida State University
This is an open-ended but elementary modeling exercise about idling energy behaviors and impacts.

What's for Dinner? Analyzing Historical Data about the American Diet part of Activities
Jessica Libertini, Johns Hopkins University
In this activity, students research the historical food consumption data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to observe trends, develop regressions, predict future behavior, and discuss broader impacts.

How much energy do you save by doubling insulation? part of Activities
Joseph Skufca, Clarkson University
Students will be provided the governing equation for steady state heat transfer across a surface. They will use that equation to explore the effect of changing the insulation value on the amount of energy used.

Simple Population Space Usage part of Activities
Bill Bauldry, Appalachian State University
Students find current values for world and US populations, the area of Texas, and the size of the average house in the USA. Students then look at ratios to assess land usage.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent part of Activities
Bill Bauldry, Appalachian State University
Student teams investigate Arctic Sea Ice by analyzing actual data and making predictions. A worthwhile extension is to predict the first year that the Arctic Ocean will be ice free.

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