Quantitative Intuition Across the Disciplines

Mapping Educational Challenges (MECha) workshops aim to map an educational challenge that lies at the boundary of disciplines, by bringing together intersectional expertise of relevance to the specific workshop theme.

Organizing Committee

Deb Hughes Hallett (chair): Professor, Mathematics, UA Science; Adjunct Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Chris Griffin: Visiting Professor and Research Scholar, UA Law
Hoshin Gupta: Regents Professor, Hydrology/Atmospheric Sciences, UA Science
Bonnie LaFleur: Research Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UA Public Health


About the Spring 2019 MECha Workshop

This two-day workshop will expand the scholarship of quantitative intuition. Leveraging expertise and interest from UA instructors from diverse disciplines, we will explore and envision frameworks and curricula that deepen our understanding of quantitative intuition and engage students more successfully in discipline-specific quantitative reasoning. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Interplay of emotions and numbers: making data human
  • Tension between (1) simplicity and realism, (2) examples and abstraction
  • Role and impact of symbols
  • Graphs and tables that “speak”
  • Telling stories with meaning: whole numbers, decimals, rounding, and percentages
  • Relating measurements to everyday objects

Workshop Results



Full Report

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QI Summary

view | download 180.01 KB






Workshop Reading Materials

Elrod, S. Quantitative Reasoning: The next 'Across the Curriculum’ Movement. Peer Review, vol. 16, no. 3, 2014, pp. 4–8. LINK 
Hemenway, D. The Myth of Millions of Annual Self-Defense Gun Uses: A Case Study of Survey Overestimates of Rare Events. CHANCE 10, no. 3 (1997): 6-10. LINK 
Hoffrage, Ulrich, et al. Communicating Statistical Information. Science, vol. 290, no. 5500, 2000, pp. 2261–2262. LINK 


Workshop Agenda

Friday April 19

8:30-9:00  Registration and breakfast

9:00-9:30  Introductions and the charge: rationale for the workshop

9:30-10:30  Small group discussion: framing the issue | What is quantitative intuition? Why are we concerned about it?

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:00 Whole group discussion: framing the issue | Weave ideas together and summarize: What is QI? How do we characterize it? Why is important to university education?

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-1:30  Examples and lessons learned 

1:30-2:30  Small group discussion: characterizing successes and challenges | What sparks QI? What dampens it? 

2:30-3:00 Coffee break

3:00-4:00 Whole group discussion: characterizing successes and challenges | Weave ideas together and summarize: Guidelines for improving QI


Saturday April 20

9:00-9:30 Breakfast

9:30-10:00 Examples and lessons learned  | 

10:30-11:30 Small group discussion: models for change | What has already been done? What could further be done to increase QI?

11:30-12:30 Lunch

12:30-1:30 Whole group discussion: models for change | Weave ideas together and summarize: What could be done to increase QI?

1:30-2:00 Coffee break

2:00-3:00 Small group discussion: shaping recommendations

3:00-4:00 Whole group discussion: shaping recommendations, and next steps

MECha Workshops


Midnight April 19, 2019 to 11:50 p.m. April 20, 2019


ENR2 Room N595

Event Contacts