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Sustainability in Math Activities


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Hybrid Vehicles: Are They Worth It? part of Activities
Lori Carmack, Salisbury University
In this project, students analyze the costs of gasoline nationwide. They also investigate the cost-effectiveness of purchasing a new hybrid vehicle as opposed to purchasing a new vehicle that runs solely on gasoline.

Salt Marshes: estimation techniques using basic algebra and geometry part of Activities
Yelena Meadows, Upper Iowa University; Sharareh Nikbakht, Appalachian State University
The activity allows for learning about salt marshes ecosystem and practicing of basic math in estimations.

One day it is too hot and other days it is too cold. Do we need to replace the HVAC system? part of Activities
Monika Kiss
This project will allow students to create a mathematical model to help in making decision about replacing HVAC units on a large scale.

Should I Unplug? part of Activities
Lori Carmack, Salisbury University
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How Big is Your Breakfast Footprint? part of Activities
Ben Galluzzo, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
Calculation of a carbon footprint resulting from common breakfast choices illustrates the importance of contextualization.

What's for Dinner? Analyzing Historical Data about the American Diet part of Activities
Jessica Libertini, Johns Hopkins University
In this activity, students research the historical food consumption data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to observe trends, develop regressions, predict future behavior, and discuss broader impacts.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent part of Activities
Bill Bauldry, Appalachian State University
Student teams investigate Arctic Sea Ice by analyzing actual data and making predictions. A worthwhile extension is to predict the first year that the Arctic Ocean will be ice free.

Sustainability Efforts on Our Campus: A Mathematical Analysis part of Activities
Lori Carmack, Salisbury University
In these open-ended but simple activities, students use basic mathematics and descriptive statistics to analyze campus sustainability efforts.

How Biodiverse is Lake Superior? An exercise in proportions. part of Activities
Stephanie Kajpust
Students use critical thinking and algebra to measure and evaluate the biodiversity in Lake Superior.

Trawl Data Exploration in Multivariable Calculus part of Activities
Kris Green, Saint John Fisher College
This activity is based on exploring the data collected from all trawls around the Chincoteague Bay from 2005 - 2014. Students can construct their own contour diagrams as they cross section the data based on their own choices. This database could also be used to support similar activities in statistics or graph theory.

Fitting and Estimating Rates of Change in the Functions Underlying Earth's Bio-Development Over Time part of Activities
Alan Ableson; Jennifer Bready
What is happening in our world? How has the temperature changed? Have oxygen and carbon dioxide levels changed? How does this effect biodiversity? In this lab, we will investigate the changes in these four variables over various time periods to see how they relate.

Biking vs Driving part of Activities
Deirdre Smeltzer, Eastern Mennonite University
How much difference would biking to work one day per week make?

Who Goes There? Estimating Ocean Populations in Chincoteague Bay part of Activities
Maria Hernandez; Itnuit Janovitz-Freireich
In this activity students use data to: rank species on the food chain, compute energy flow ratios and estimate fish populations in the Chincoteague Bay. Students also discuss the impact of the ecosystem and humans on this population, with an extension activity calculating the biodiversity of the system.

How should I shower? part of Activities
Margaret Sullivan
In this activity, students will investigate the questions: What are the benefits/costs of 3 varieties of shower head types: standard, low flow, massage spray? Which would be best for a homeowner? For the university dorms?

The True Cost of Eggs: Commercial vs. Local part of Activities
Caira Bongers

A Monarchy Deposed: The Demise of the Monarch Butterfly part of Activities
Daniel Abel, Coastal Carolina University
Monarch butterflies (scientific name: Danaus plexippus) migrate annually to forests in central Mexico from Canada and California. Those surviving the 1200 - 2800 mile migration overwinter in Mexico. In this activity, students will learn about the conservation biology of monarch butterflies, threats to their survival, the implications of their potential extinction, and ways to protect the species.

Plastic Waste Production part of Activities
Karen Bliss
In this exercise, students will use data to predict the amount of plastic waste in the next ten years.

Control Chart Project part of Activities
Owen Byer, Eastern Mennonite University
This is a short assignment that asks students to find some data related to sustainability and determine whether the mean of that data set is statistically stable, and whether the process being measured is in control or out of control. It is often used for quality control in a production process, but in this activity, it is used to see if an ecosystem process is stable and healthy or disrupted (out of control.)

Replacing Household Appliances: Refrigerator part of Activities
Krys Stave, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
In this problem, students compare the energy use of their existing refrigerator with a new refrigerator.

Teaching Mathematics as Though Our Survival Mattered part of Activities
Martin Walker
Mathematics plays a pivotal role in helping us understand "the current human condition." This attached article provides multiple examples and is useful as a supplemental reading. A variety of math problems could also be extracted for course use.

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