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Quantitative Skills, Thinking, and Reasoning Activities


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Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Percentage of Copper in Ore
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question Suppose that you are building a new house. It will take about 90 kg (198 pounds) of copper to do the electrical wiring. In order to get the copper in the first place, someone needs to mine solid rock that ...

Independent Samples t-Test: Chips Ahoy® vs. Supermarket Brand
Dexter Whittinghill, Rowan University
In this hands-on activity, students count the number of chips in cookies in order to carry out an independent samples t-test to compare Chips Ahoy® cookies and a supermarket brand. It can involve discussion of randomness and independence of samples, comparing two parameters with null and alternative hypotheses, and the practical issues of counting chips in a cookie.

Reasoning About Center and Spread: How do Students Spend Their Time?
Shirley Alt
This activity helps students develop better understanding and stronger reasoning skills about distributions in terms of center and spread. Key words: center, spread, distribution

Using Your Hair to Understand Descriptive Statistics
Christopher Malone, Winona State University
The purpose of this activity is to enhance students’ understanding of various descriptive measures in statistics. In particular, students will gain a visual understanding of means, medians, quartiles, and boxplots without doing any computations by completing this activity.

An In-Class Experiment to Estimate Binomial Probabilities
Jessica Utts, University of Califronia, Davis
This hands-on activity asks students to conduct a binomial experiment and calculate a confidence interval for the true probabiity. It is useful for involving students, and for having a discussion about the interpretation of confidence intervals and the role of sample size in estimation.

Seeing and Describing the Predictable Pattern: The Central Limit Theorem
Shirley Alt, University of Minnesota-Duluth
This activity helps students develop a better understanding and stronger reasoning skills about the Central Limit Theorem and normal distributions. Key words: Sample, Normal Distribution, Model, Distribution, Variability, Central Limit Theorem (CLT)

GEO-Logic: How Well Do You Know Your National Parks and Memorials
Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine
Students are asked to associate historical figures with a particular National Park or Memorial (and its size) as well as the number of points they scored in a fictitious game show, based on clues about the situation given from various perspectives.

GEOLogic: State Fossils
Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine
Students are asked to identify states with their state fossil and the year in which it was declared, based on clues given from various points of view.

Westward Ho! How Far is Yonder Mountain
Len Vacher, Dept of Geology, University of South Florida
PowerPoint module leading students through development of a spreadsheet to calculate the distance of a mountain peak from coplanar vertical angles shot from two points a known distance apart.

Cycles of the Sun and Moon
John McDaris, Carleton College
This activity asks students to download sunrise and sunset data along with moon phase data and graph these data sets together in a spreadsheet in order to visualize the cycles of the seasons and the moon.