Quantitative Literacy Program

Program Courses

Math 101: Contemporary Applications: Math for the 21st Century

Students who show weakness in at least three of the four proficiency areas tested on the Quantitative Literacy Exam given to all incoming students are placed into this course. Concepts studied include numerical, statistical, algebraic, and logical reasoning with emphasis on real-life examples in current print and electronic media. Also included are numerical reasoning topic, such as CPI, proportion, percent, precision, and scientific notation.

Math 115: Visual Geometry : Math in Art and Architecture

This course uses geometry to examine, analyze, and recreate patterns and shapes found in art and architecture. We will use ancient geometric tools – compass and straight edge – to construct spirals, ovals, golden rectangles, and profiles of domes. We will examine the symmetry of two-dimensional geometric ornament, and examine polyhedra (three-dimensional analogs of polygons) and their incorporation into art and architecture.  Finally, we will look at ways of depicting three dimensions in two; that is, we will examine the geometry behind the Renaissance discovery of perspective, reproducing Brunelleschi’s experiment in the Piazza del Duomo in Florence. Readings include Ross King, Brunelleschi’s Dome (Walker and Co.) and Paul Calter, Squaring the Circle: Geometry in Art and Architecture (Key College Publishing).  (This course carries Numerical and Symbolic Reasoning credit for Trinity students.)

Math 116: Mathematics of Equity: Quantitative Approaches

Fair division or mathematical equity problems involve the allocation of people, goods or power among the members of a group. This course examines algorithms for allocating both divisible and indivisible assets and, especially, the notion of fairness as a quantifiable property and as the subject of several important theorems. Theories are illustrated by historical and contemporary examples, such as original quantitative arguments by Thomas Jefferson and Daniel Webster, a 1999 patent application for a division algorithm, and problems involved in the operations of the Law of the Sea Convention and the U. S. Electoral College. Computer software: Excel.

Math 117: Visually Displaying Data: Graphical Literacy

This course examines the efficient communication of complex quantitative ideas in many formats: data maps, time-series, space-time narrative designs, charts and graphs. Students will learn what properties make a graphic display coherent and compelling and what practices introduce distortions and confusion and should be avoided. Theories will be illustrated by historical examples such as Florence Nightingale's statistical diagrams, Snow's data maps of the cholera epidemics in nineteenth-century London, and the charts used by engineers and project managers in their decision to launch the Challenger spacecraft. As part of this course each student will complete a project involving the analysis and effective display of information from Trinity's City Data Center. Readings will include Tufte's Visual Display of Quantitative Information, and selections from the Visual Revelations column of the journal Chance. Computer software used: EXCEL and PowerPoint.