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Quantitative Skills, Thinking, and Reasoning Activities


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Question of the Day: ANWR Drilling Policy
Question of the Day developed by William Prothero, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Students analyze the interplay between science and politics on the issue of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Energy Released in an Earthquake
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question A magnitude 8.5 earthquake (such as the 1964 Good Friday earthquake in Alaska) releases about 1x1018 joules of energy. The atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima released about 1.5x1013 joules of energy. How ...

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Rate of Lava Flow
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question In 1983, an eruption began at Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii that has proved to be the largest and longest-lived eruption since records began in 1823. Lava has poured out of the volcano at an average rate of ...

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 ...

Shift in life expectancy
Holly Partridge
Determining the shift in expected life span over a century and the social and environmental impact

Conservation of energy of a rollercoaster using high speed video
Peter Bohacek
A high speed video clip of a roller coaster is used as an example of conservation of mechanical energy. Student use the video to determine whether mechanical energy is conserved while the roller coaster rolls up, and then back down a hil.

A Look at High School Dropout Rates: Average Rates of Change and Trend Lines
Frank Wilson
Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum module. Students build a spreadsheet to calculate an average rate of change and compare it to the slope of the trend line on a scatter plot of a real-world data set

The Mole in Chemistry: How do you determine the number of atoms or molecules in everyday items?
Christina Stringer
Spreadsheets across the Curriculum Module. Students build spreadsheets to practice converting between moles, grams, and atomic mass units.

Simple vs. Compound Interest -- Spreadsheeting the Difference
Gary Franchy, Southwestern Michigan College
Spreadsheets Across Curriculum module. Students build spreadsheets to tabulate, graph and compare the future value of investments with compound vs. simple interest. Spreadsheet level: beginner.

Nitrate Levels in the Rock Creek Park Watershed, Washington DC, 2: Variability
Module by: Mark C. Rains and Len Vacher, University of South Florida Marian Norris, National Parks Service, Center for Urban Ecology Cover Page by: Len Vacher and Denise Davis, University of South Florida
Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum module/Geology of National Parks course. Students calculate standard deviation and z-values to examine a possible outlier in a positively skewed data set.