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Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications

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March 27, 2024
Written on . Posted in Math Modeling.

Math Modeling Real-World Topics: Voting Models

In this blog series, we're highlighting math modeling modules and articles that explore real-world issues that have broad implications.

Voting models play a crucial role in elections, and can shape the outcomes differently depending on the algorithms and criteria used. This blog post features a math modeling module that explores three main voting models so students can understand how they influence election results.

About the Voting Models Math Modeling Module

This module is a dynamic learning tool with interactive activities designed to reinforce concepts and stimulate critical thinking. From analyzing voter preferences using preference diagrams to simulating election scenarios with different voting models, students can actively engage with the material and develop essential mathematical modeling skills.

In addition to traditional voting models, the document explores approval voting—a simple yet intriguing approach where voters can select multiple candidates they support without ranking them. Through case studies and analysis of St. Louis' first-ever approval voting election, students can weigh the pros and cons of this alternative voting model.

One of the highlights of the module is its focus on real-life election scenarios, such as Maine's 2018 U.S. House Representative election and Alaska's Senate election in 2022. By analyzing actual election data and outcomes, students can gain a deeper understanding of how voting models work in practice and their impact on democratic processes.

The document includes insights from renowned mathematicians like Kenneth Arrow, whose work on voting theory earned him a Nobel Prize in economics. By understanding Arrow's criteria for evaluating voting models and the inherent challenges in designing a perfect model, students can appreciate the complexities of decision-making in democratic systems.

How to Get the Voting Models Math Modeling Module

This math modeling module is available with a free membership on the COMAP website. Sign up here to get access. Then, download the Voting Models module here.

Here are some more real-world math modeling modules, available for free, that we’ve featured lately:

Want even more free modules? Check out this list of 10 interesting math modules.

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The Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications is an award-winning non-profit organization whose mission is to improve mathematics education for students of all ages. Since 1980, COMAP has worked with teachers, students, and business people to create learning environments where mathematics is used to investigate and model real issues in our world.