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Quantitative Skills, Thinking, and Reasoning Activities

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Writing about Numbers We Should Know
Neil Lutsky, Carleton College
This opening assignment for an introductory quantitative reasoning course asks students to write about "Numbers We Should Know." Its goal is to help students begin to think quantitatively, evaluate the sources of quantitative information critically, and write using numbers precisely and thoughtfully.

Exploring Economic Inequality with Data
Nathan Grawe, Carleton College
This set of assignments exposes students to data which can be used to analyze economic inequality in international and historical context. Then students are asked to generate a thesis-driven argument drawing supporting evidence from one or more of the data sources.

Comparison of GDP and the Human Development Index (HDI).
This assignment exposes students to data on economic growth anddevelopment as commonly measured by per capita GDP and the HumanDevelopment Index (HDI) for 100 countries of the world. There is a bigdebate about how good an indicator HDI is compared to GDP per capita asa measure of development.

Measuring Wellbeing across Racial Groups using Data and Statistics
This set of assignments exposes students to statistics and data pertaining to economic wellbeing over time across racial (black-white)categories in the U.S.

Teaching Principles Students How to Assess the State of the Economy
Steven Greenlaw, University of Mary Washington
Principles of economics students are asked to collect and analyze data on a few macro economic aggregates to give them a first taste of empirical work.

Empirical Economics Research Proposal
Nathan Grawe, Carleton College
This assignment asks students to propose an original research question and identify data that could be used to answer that question.

Analyzing the Last Five Years of the US Economy for an Intermediate Macro Course
Steven Greenlaw, University of Mary Washington
Intermediate students are asked to analyze data on the components of consumption and investment expenditures and explanatory variables based on textbook models of each. Students look for rough correlations between the explanatory and dependent variables.

Writing Precise Explanations of Graphic/Tabular Display of Economic Data
Dean Peterson, Seattle University
This assignment asks for short, precise explanations of economic data displayed in graphs and tables.

Choosing Between Home Appliances: Benefits to the Planet and Your Wallet
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.

Economics of installing Solar PV panels: is it worth it to the individual?
Martin Walter
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.