The United States of Inequality: A QR Writing Activity

Eric Gaze, Bowdoin College, based on The Great Divergence series of articles by Timothy Noah at
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This material was developed as part of the Carleton Teaching Activity Collection and is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


In this project, students will be asked to read a series of articles containing information, data and graphics, on income inequality in the United States. Students will be asked to analyze the various explanations offered for the growing gap between the rich and poor and then write a short paper summarizing their findings, and offering their own take on this issue (including implications for public policy).

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Learning Goals

Students will learn to study a complex societal issue from multiple viewpoints, assessing the cogency of arguments presented and then developing their own analysis of the situation. This will require them to develop their ability to reason effectively from evidence and communicate their arguments.

Context for Use

This is meant to be a project in a Quantitative Reasoning course.

Description and Teaching Materials

Teaching Notes and Tips


References and Resources

Article and slide show on Income Inequality: