10-12 Grades Social Science
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This volume is part of the monograph series of the New Liberal Arts Program (1980-1992), a project of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The NLA Program had the goal of assisting in the introduction of quantitative reasoning and concepts of modern technology within liberal education. The Program was based on the conviction that college graduates should have been introduced to both areas if they are to live in the social mainstream and participate in the resolution of policy issues. The Center for Mathematics and Quantitative Education is delighted to make these monographs available.


Rates of Change:
Modelling Population and Resources

Eva Paus, Economics Department
Harriet Pollatsek, Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computation
Mount Holyoke College

This is the subject of the present monograph. A crucial element in the teaching of this unit is the program STELLA by High Performance Systems. By the use of clever visual icons, STELLA permits the student to model dynamical systems of considerable complexity without the explicit use of calculus. The central visual metaphor is "plumbing." Quantities that grow or shrink appear as the contents of "bathtubs." "Pipes" feed into and out of the tubs, each with a "valve" which determines the rate of increase or decrease. These rates may, in turn, depend on other quantities in the system in a variety of ways.

This text allows student to approach problems normally reserved for those with a calculus background. Lots of discussion questions and exercises are included. The background, material for various topics is presented at a beginners level. Further reading would allow a more sophisticated approach to the topics. A user who does not have access to STELLA would have to rework the exercises in their own choice of software.