Math You Need > The Math You Need, When You Need It > Implementation Plans > Energy and the Environment at University of Washington Tacoma
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.

TESC 238-Energy and the Environment
at University of Washington Tacoma

Implementer(s): Julie Masura
Enrollment: 55
Anticipated Start Date: Spring 2012 (Quarters)

Challenges to using math in introductory geoscience

University of Washington Tacoma is a small, urban campus located in the center of downtown Tacoma. The student population consists of a broad range of ethnicities, ages, interests, and life experiences. Students are both transfers from community colleges and universities, as well as incoming freshmen from local high schools. Returning students include veterans, professionals, and older adults wishing to complete their degrees. Students are required to have completed intermediate algebra in order to transfer into the university or have met equivalent math score for entering freshmen.

Energy and the Environment is a course for both a science majors and non-majors elective course. Some students are very prepared and at times seem bored. Others are quite intimidated with the math. I know they have the skills, but just don't take the opportunity to learn or apply what they know. I have to take the whole class step-by-step, losing some along the way. I am looking for a way to assist students to learn how to apply math to the topics discussed. The Math You Need will be used to help review needed quantitative skills applied to topics in energy. Due to the large size of the class, the modules will be completed outside of class.

More about your geoscience course

Energy and the Environment provides an overview of both renewable and non-renewable energy resources, their distribution, availability, patterns of use, and impact on the environment. Evaluates relative energy efficiencies, as well as political and economic impacts, on energy.

This course is a natural world requirement for interdisciplinary arts and science students. This elective course consists of majors and non-majors from diverse backgrounds to include . This is a lecture course, in which I have students do classroom activities. The activities are equivalent to labs. There are no TA's. I typically teach this course every two years. Only two other people have taught this course in the past with no intention on teaching it again. Other courses similar to this one are Pollution and Public Policy, Air Pollution and Atmosphere, and Geologic Hazards and Natural Disasters.

Inclusion of quantitative content pre-TMYN

Again, there are no formal labs, but a series of classroom activities on the second meeting day of the week. Students work in groups, but turn assignments in as individuals. Typically, majors assist those who have difficulties with the material.

Activities include:

  • Reviewing and interpreting graphs.
  • Graphing information from large data sets and interpreting the graph.
  • Determining when materials will be depleted.
  • Calculate growth rates.
  • Converting units of various forms.

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

  • Graphing (plot of population versus time)
    • Plotting Points (plot atmospheric CO2 over time)
    • Reading Points from a Line
  • Rates (determining rates of depletion of energy sources)
  • Rearranging Equations (compare energy concentrations of one form to another)
  • Unit Conversions (convert energy units from one energy form to another)

Strategies for successfully implementing The Math You Need

Reflections and Results (after implementing)


Energy and the Environment (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 40kB Jul29 11)