Requiring all Researchers to Consider Quantitative Information



Over the last years I have begun to really encourage the integration of quantitative information into the research paper.  I believe that, by considering the numeric side of a topic, it really rounds out the information that is provided to the reader.

First, we teach students how and where to locate statistics.  During this process, we have begun to ask most classes to create an  Infographic that aligns with their research. (here is the InfographicsRubric)  We decided to do this after being inspired by Allison Burley

Second, we teach the students formally how to write with statistics.  My writing rules are basically to turn a graph/chart into text which, in a formula, would consist of three sentences (and synthesize naturally and properly into the flow and transition of the information provided in the body of the text):

Sentence 1:  Write a sentence which makes the reader care about the statistic (develop the human aspect/story of the number which you will present)

2.  Provide the number in a digestible format to allow for seamless reading/comprehension (ideally two ways: example 8.3 million, or 76% of the population)

3.  Offer your reader context to compare the number to either another number (statistic from previous year) or to something that they are familiar with (the country is the size of Texas OR the death toll was similar to the death toll during 9/11)

By asking students to intentionally locate quantitative information which supports their thesis statement, students who are researching will begin to lay the groundwork in preparation for college –level writing.  It also helps broaden the research process making them more intentional than haphazard.

Here is the page for statistics on our Google Site

Image citation:

Geralt. “Statistics Chart Graphic Bar Symbol Arrow.” Pixabay. N.p., 29 Jan. 2013. Web. 7 Apr. 2014. <

Questions for Students Learning about the American Dream (plus a tiny Of Mice and Men tie-in)

Here are the questions from our Twitter Chat on the “American Dream” and Of Mice and Men (which was given the hashtag #OMMAD)  Many of these questions were prepared prior to the chat or emerged during the chat.  The discussion centered around the “American Dream” (sometimes abbreviated as TAD) with a minor focus on John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men in relation to the “American Dream.”

The American Dream questions:

  • What is your American Dream?

  • Are your dreams different from your friends’ dreams?

  • What in popular culture exemplifies the American Dream?

  • Is the American Dream altered by celebrity statuses in life? Is that what our society’s goal is as of now?

  • Are big houses and money goals to value?

  • How do we create equal access to the American Dream?

  • Respond to the statement from the picture: I did nothing today and still got paid.

  • Do you think the American Dream can be achieved without hard work or do you need to be 100% on top of the progress of your dream?

  • Do you feel many of us in America spend on what we want versus need? How might we combat that behavior and addiction?

  • Sometimes the priorities of my American Dream become skewed when I try to “keep up with the Joneses” I, then, feel bad about myself.  Do you think that my bad feeling caused by keeping up with the Joneses is dangerous to me, my family, my society?

  • What does “cost” mean? Is it more than a financial cost?

  • Can the dream be based upon character and behavior? Do we lose these while trying to climb the ladder?

  • Can we successfully create a personal American Dream based upon character and behavior?

  • Must we keep changing our American Dream as we grow?

  • Do you have to “keep check” on our dream to live a satisfied life?

  • Is there really an American Dream, though? Because if you’re living the dream it’s not really a dream anymore..

  • It is getting progressively harder to fulfill the dreams most Americans have? Will we always get our dreams?

  • Analyze this quote: “America is a tune, it must be sung together”

  • How many people today can say they are actually living TAD?

  • What defines happiness?

  • TAD is real b/c anyone can dream.  But is TAD a tangible achievement?

  • Do we really ever achieve our American Dream?


Of Mice and Men specific questions:

  • How might one character’s American Dream in Of Mice and Men differ from your own and why?

  • How does the farm serve as a metaphor in the novel Of Mice and Men?

  • How much do you think the American Dream would cost in the 1930’s? What does “cost” mean? Is it more than a financial cost?

  • How hard do you think people had to work for the American Dream in the 1930’s versus now?

  • Why did George “have to” kill Lennie? Was it a fair decision to end his life?

  • Since Lennie’s dream was different from George’s, considering the simplicity, does the American dream depend on who you are?

  • Lennie was content with rabbits but George wanted to live comfortably. Are your dreams different from your friends’ dreams?

  • Because this time period (Great Depression) is a prevalent idea for many novels, how is Steinbeck’s portrayal so significant?