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Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum, 3: Finding a List of Mathematical Skills for Quantitative Literacy Empirically
  • H L Vacher, Department of Geology, University of South Florida
  • Emily Lardner, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA
  • quantitative literacy,
  • spreadsheets

What mathematical topics do educators committed to teaching mathematics in context choose for their students when given the opportunity to develop an educational resource explicitly to teach mathematics in context? This paper examines the choices made for the 55 modules by 40 authors in the General Collection of the Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum (SSAC) library. About half of the modules were made by authors from natural science, and about 60% of the other modules were by authors from mathematics. The modules are tagged with terms of a search vocabulary developed for the browse page of the collection. The four terms most frequently used to tag the modules are: visual display of data (particularly XY plots and bar graphs); ratio and proportion; rates; and forward modeling (e.g., what-if?). Subdividing the modules into those authored by instructors from mathematics vs. natural science vs. other disciplines shows universal popularity of the first three choices. Forward modeling was a favorite of authors from mathematics and natural science. Manipulating equations, unit conversions, and logarithms (orders of magnitude, scientific notation) were called for by authors from natural science. The paper concludes with a list of 15 concepts and skills that received the most “votes.”

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0
Citation Information
H L Vacher and Emily Lardner. "Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum, 3: Finding a List of Mathematical Skills for Quantitative Literacy Empirically" (2011)
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