Sustainability in Math Activities


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Population Growth, Ecological Footprints, and Overshoot part of Activities
Rikki Wagstrom, Metropolitan State University
In this activity, students develop and apply linear, exponential, and rational functions to explore past and projected U.S. population growth, carbon footprint trend, ecological overshoot, and effectiveness of hypothetical carbon dioxide reduction initiatives.

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.

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.

Estimating OUR Carbon Footprint part of Activities
Ben Galluzzo, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania; Jean McGivney-Burelle, University of Hartford; Rikki Wagstrom, Metropolitan State University
Description here.

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, Saint Leo University
This project will allow students to create a mathematical model to help in making decision about replacing HVAC units on a large scale.

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?

Should I Unplug? part of Activities
Lori Carmack, Salisbury University
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The Costs of Your Commute: Your Money, Your Time, and the Earth part of Activities
Charlie Buehrle, Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg
This activity has students investigate their own cost, CO2 output, and time for commuting. They then compare their commute to an environmentally conscious alternative by using comparable metrics.

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.

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.

Solar panel statistical tests part of Activities
Owen Byer, Eastern Mennonite University
In this activity, students will determine whether there is a statistically significant difference in the number of watts of power produced on individual solar panels at Bryn Mawr College.

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.

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

Choosing Between Home Appliances: Benefits to the Planet and Your Wallet part of Activities
Corri Taylor, Wellesley College
Students research various options for new appliances and make purchasing decisions based not merely on purchase price, but also on energy efficiency, which has implications for the planet AND for longer-term personal finances. Students calculate the "payback period" for the more energy efficient appliance and calculate long-term savings.

ELIMINATING TRAYS IN THE CAFETERIA: BENEFITS TO THE PLANET AND TO ECONOMIC COSTS part of Activities
Dianne Marquart
In this activity, students will investigate the economic and environmental benefits of eliminating food trays in the cafeteria at their college.

Problems for Calculus and Precalculus part of Activities
Deb Hughes Hallett, The University of Arizona
Problems on Energy and Climate for Students in Calculus I and II

Simple Population Space Usage part of Activities
Bill Bauldry, Appalachian State University
Students find current values for world and US populations, the area of Texas, and the size of the average house in the USA. Students then look at ratios to assess land usage.

Water conservation part of Activities
Holly Partridge
Small amounts of water in one home dripping from a faucet can add up to huge monetary and resource losses

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.