Issues and Discussion

Teaching Quantitative Skills in the Geosciences

This essay, written by Cathryn Manduca (SERC, Carleton College) in 2002, lays the groundwork why geoscience faculty should care about integrating quantitative skills into their teaching. Dr. Manduca also synthesizes many of the seminal works on the subject and provides a starting place for those newly entering this arena.

What is QL/QR/QS?

The National Numeracy Network has a brief discussion of this issue that goes by many names: Numeracy, Quantitative Literacy, Quantitative Reasoning... The page also includes some important references for work that has been conducted outside the context of the geosciences.

  • The NNN also publishes a column on it's website called Ratiocination which is written by Dr. Eric Gaze of Bowdoin College.
  • The NNN also publishes an online journal titled Numeracy: Advancing Education in Quantitative Literacy. The journal "seeks evidence-based articles on teaching strategies and resources, education research, curriculum design, assessment strategies, and faculty development, as well as perspectives, reviews of educational resources, and commentaries/replies." All issues and articles are freely available online.

Computational Geology

Computational Geology is column that was written by Len Vacher of the University of South Florida for the Journal of Geoscience Education from 1998 to 2005. Dr. Vacher applies many basic (and not so basic) mathematical tools to relevant issues in geology so that educators can help their students transfer the skills they learn in calculus or physics classes to their structural geology, hydrogeology, and other courses.

Outcomes from Workshops

In addition to producing large numbers of teaching activities aimed at improving students' quantitative skills, the workshops that have been run by this project have produced significant outcomes in terms of recommendations and best practices for this effort.


Browse through our catalog of references relating to teaching quantitative skills.

Featured Articles:

Hancock, G., C. Manduca (2005), Developing Quantitative Skills Activities for Geoscience Students, Eos Trans. AGU, 86(39), 355, 10.1029/2005EO390003.

C.A. Manduca, E. Baer, G. Hancock, R.H. Macdonald, S. Patterson, M. Savina and J. Wenner (2008), Making Undergraduate Geoscience Quantitative. EOS, 89(16), 149-150.

      Next Page »