This page is designed to provide a guide to a planned implementation of The Math You Need, When You Need It. It will change as the implementation proceeds at this institution. Please check back regularly for updates and more information.

Our Geological Environment (GSCI 100)
at SUNY Geneseo

Instructor: Dori Farthing
Enrollment: 130 each semester (traditional undergraduate population)

Challenges to using math in introductory geoscience

Our students are high achievers who rank at the top of their high school class and who have strong SAT scores. Although they are academic stars, many students do not feel strongly confident in their math skills. This lack of confidence often blooms into a fear of anything associated with numbers which then shades students' perceptions of science in general. Within our institution, there is strong support for initiatives to help increase quantitative literacy and TMYN provides an innovative platform for student-focused learning enhancement.

More about your geoscience course

GSCI 100 is a course that is taught every semester and is an essential course for students seeking to cover 1/2 of their science general education courses. Students who are enrolled in this course, attend lecture 3 times a week and then a 2 hour lab once a week. The average student in this course is a non-science major.

The lab portion will be essential to the implementation of TMYN because the modules will be incorporated into the pre-lab assignments. Each lab has <24 students and is led by a faculty member with help from an undergraduate teaching assistant. All labs begin with a short quiz covering material from the previous week's lab, a mini-lecture presenting an introduction to the day's lab, and then the student-driven lab exercise.

Inclusion of quantitative content pre-TMYN

Quantitative skills are incorporated into GSCI 100 through the following topics:
unit conversion, rate calculation, graph making, graph reading, use of scales with geological maps, use of ratios with maps, topographic profile creation, slope calculation, and use of a protractor to measure azimuth.

Because it is easier to work one-on-one with students, quantitative skills are embedded into lab work. Quantitative skills that are viewed as especially difficult for students are modeled by the lab instructors in short pre-lab lectures. Students who still feel at a loss can seek out extra help from faculty and t.a.'s during class, during office hours, or during a special "learning center" time.

Which Math You Need Modules will/do you use in your course?

  • Topographic Profile
  • Rates
  • Slopes
  • Unit Conversions

Strategies for successfully implementing The Math You Need

TMYN will be incorporated into the lab portion of this course. The semester will begin with an in-class pre-test. The pretest that will cover the following topics:

Unit conversion
Rate calculation
Graph reading
Topographic profiles
Slope calculation

TMYN modules will be embedded into the pre-labs as follows*:
Implementation plan

*note: if the pre-test indicates a lack of proficiency in plotting points on a graph, we will incorporate TMYN's graphing module into the Volcano pre-lab assignment.

These modules tap topics that we currently teach in our labs. Past students have been very studious about completing pre-lab assignments and it is our hope that the inclusion of TMYN modules will decrease the amount of time that is used in the pre-lab lecture covering the topics.

Students will complete a post test in the last week of lab and it will be given as an out of class assignment. This post-test will be identical to the pre-test.

Reflections and Results

This section will be completed after the implementation is complete.


Lecture and Lab Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 299kB Jul22 10)