Initial Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Quantitative reasoning skills in laboratory courses

Kabindra Shakya, Geography and the Environment, Villanova University

Quantitative reasoning (QR) and critical thinking are one of the important learning goals for students in environmental science. Analysis of environmental problem is a part of the curriculum. Students can collect data by making field and measurements, and retrieving the public databases to understand the environmental processes or environmental problems. Students are often required to analyze data and discuss the results and make recommendations. Such content are often the main part of laboratory sessions. Active learning could be integrated in QR as it involves hands on activities and collaboration among team members. The QR also demonstrates the magnitude of the problem when data analysis is included in case studies, e.g. climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, air pollution.

In my classes, I have used the public databases such as air quality database and climate data to illustrate the problem of global warming and air pollution. At the workshop, I want to improve the learning goals related to QR and assessment techniques. I also want to learn how to emphasize the importance of QR skills when such activities are used.

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