Engaging First-Year Students with Numbers

Articles and other Publications

The High Price of Being a Gay Couple (New York Times, 10/3/2009)
The Times is better than most newspapers at sourcing its data, and the quantitative reasoning in this article is fairly sophisticated — though it raises many good questions.
Mistaken Data at the FlowingData blog
A variety of examples and discussion of misleading data and charts in recent popular media.
Bridgewater State University Factbooks (Updated each year)
Taken from the annual CIRP Freshman Survey, the Factbooks are assembled by the Office of Institutional Research to give a snapshot of BSU's students in a variety of academic, affective, and demographic domains.
The Shocking, Graphic Data That [...] Motivates the "Occupy" Movement (AlterNet, 10/23/2011)
New Inequality Data Likely to Boost "Occupy" Movement (IPS News, 10/26/2011)
The popular movement that began with "Occupy Wall Street" is increasingly driven by income- and wealth-distribution data such as this recent study from the Congressional Budget Office. However, in the political echo chamber, how can we distinguish between sound quantitative inference and misleading appeals to emotion?
BP Technical Briefing by CEO Kent Wells, 5/24/2010
This video briefing reports on the efforts by BP to recover spilled oil from the Gulf of Mexico during what was an ongoing crisis for both the environment and BP's public relations. Note Wells' preference for a cumulative distribution (total barrels collected, which of course is always increasing) over the capture rate (which had slowed down at the time of the briefing).
NPR's On the Media Program
On the Media frequently presents detailed pieces on data consumption and presentation in journalism. Their podcasts are also made available for download.


The Chicago Guide to Writing About Numbers, by Jane E. Miller
Stat Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data, by Joel Best
Calculated Risks: How to Know When Numbers Deceive You, by Gerd Gigerenzer
Freakonomics and The Freakonomics Blog, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos
A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper, by John Allen Paulos
How to Lie With Statistics, by Darrell Huff

Educational Resources

Advanced Mathematical Decision Making (Dana Center, University of Texas)
This beautifully-developed high-school QR course was adopted as an "alternate" fourth-year mathematics course by the Texas State Board of Education in January 2011.
Quantitative Reasoning, Inquiry, and Knowledge (QuIRK) (Carleton College)
Carleton's portfolio-based, cross-curricular QR program was one of the first and among the most successful of its kind. QuIRK has a wealth of resources on its website to support the development of quantitative coursework and assignments in higher education.