Case Studies for Quantitative ReasoningA Casebook of Media Articles
This book contains twenty-four case studies of public media articles, mostly from newspapers. Also included are introductory notes and exercises on the basic concepts of understanding and comparing quantities; percent and percent change; indices; interest on money; weighted averages; counting; and probability, odds and risk. Each of the articles contains quantitative information, analyses, or argument. These case studies are meant to be both items of study and examples of case studies that students and teachers can create using public media articles from the present day, keeping the material fresh and more obviously relevant.
The Course Philosophy
Our experience with the course as it has developed over the past several years – which we call QL-friendly – has led us to a few conclusions about desirable characteristics of such courses, and, on the flip side, some conclusions about why traditional courses are not QL-friendly. Some of these characteristics are alluded to in other areas of this website, but we list them here as well.
- Mathematics is encountered in many contexts such as political, economic, entertainment, health, historical, and scientific. Teachers will require broader knowledge of many of the contextual areas.
- Pedagogy is changed from presenting abstract (finished) mathematics and then applying the mathematics to developing or calling up the mathematics after looking at contextual problems first.
- Material is encountered as it is in the real world, unpredictably. Unless students have practice at dealing with quantitative material in this way they are unlikely to develop habits that allow them to understand and use the material. Productive disposition as described by Kilpatrick, Swafford and Findell (2001) is critical for the students.
- Much of the material should be fresh -- recent and relevant.
- Considerably less mathematics content is covered thoroughly.
- The mathematics used and learned is often elementary, but the contexts and reasoning are sophisticated.
- Technology – at least graphing calculators – is used to explore, compute, and visualize.
- QL topics must be encountered across the curriculum in a coordinated fashion, requiring those encountered in a QL-friendly course to make cross-curricular connections.
- An interactive classroom is important. Students must engage the material and practice retrieval in multiple contexts.