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MAA/NSF Partnerships WorkshopOnLife Sciences and Mathematics

Carroll College
Helena, Montana

July 17-22, 2000

Faculty teams representing undergraduate mathematics and life sciences will work on interdisciplinary materials developed by faculty at Dartmouth College and at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. Faculty teams will have the opportunity to investigate materials linking mathematics with the life sciences, adapt materials to their institutional needs, and work on the development of their own materials. Faculty workshop leaders, representing mathematics and the life sciences, will be available to advise and assist participants. Workshop leaders have developed interdisciplinary materials for Mathematics across the Curriculum projects funded by NSF. At least one session will focus on the needs of pre-service teachers in disciplinary courses, both in general education and in the major area. One workshop will be led by a faculty member, from Montana State University, who has developed materials as part of the Montana Collaborative for Excellence in Teacher Preparation, funded by NSF.

The workshop will be held at Carroll College, which is situated in a beautifully scenic area of Montana. One afternoon and evening will be spent on a riverboat cruise through the Gates of the Rockies with a barbecue dinner provided at a picnic and hiking trail area.

Workshop Leaders include:
Dartmouth College: Dorothy Wallace, Kim Rheinlander, Mathematics; and John Lynch and Daniel Karnes, Life Sciences. Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis: Bob Keck, Biology, and Dick Patterson, Mathematics. University of Montana, Rick Billstein. Jim Lightbourne, NSF.

Schedule of Workshop and session descriptions:

July 16, Sunday Arrival and room check-in
8:00 PM Reception

July 17, Monday
7:00-8:00 AM Breakfast
8:00-11:00 AM Workshop 1
Introduction of workshop leaders and participants
Statements of interest and plans for workshop

Workshop 1 and 2: Population Growth
(Dorothy Wallace, Daniel Karnes, and Kim Rheinlander).
This workshop will start the week with a bang as participants work from three different modules developed by the Dartmouth project, all of which introduce models of population growth. Participants will compare various models using Maple software, will hear about student response to the material, and will have an opportunity to discuss how they would adapt such an approach to their own institution. Finally, we will introduce the Curl database to provide a resource for population data from a variety of sources.

Noon-1:00 PM Lunch
1:30 - 4:30 PM Workshop 2, Population Growth, continued
4:30 - 6:00 PM Team work time
6:00 ? 7:00 PM Dinner
Eve Activity Open labs, teams work on their own project or continue work on the materials presented


July 18, Tuesday
7:00-8:00 AM Breakfast
8:00-11:00 AM Workshop 3
noon-1:00 PM Lunch
1:30 - 4:30 PM Workshop 4

Workshop 3: River Flooding.
(Kim Rheinlander, Daniel Karnes, and Dorothy Wallace).
Participants will work through a module on River Flooding using Maple software. Participants will also have time to discuss using this module in their own classes, and also to consider other topics from environmental science that would be amenable to similar treatment. The goal of this session is for each group to begin structuring some modules or lessons to take home, perhaps utilizing web based resources appropriate to the topic they have chosen. This session includes a discussion of the impact of interdisciplinary mathematical investigations on pre-service teachers and what can be done in a normal classroom to help those individuals carry an interdisciplinary approach using modules into their own teaching.

Workshop 4: Problem Solving for Biology Students.
(Patterson and Keck)
Biologist Bob Keck and mathematician Dick Patterson will describe a set of problems they developed to convince introductory level biology students that mathematics is a useful tool. The mathematics needed is low level, but the biology questions are very real: How much head start does a gazelle need to outrun a cheetah? How does Nigerian soil compare to Wisconsin soil for generating a wheat crop? How many moles of CO2 can be fixed per second by a century plant as opposed to a corn plant?

In the classroom setting using these materials, students work in small groups on these problems; they check and reinforce each other and build confidence in their abilities. Students are asked to examine the assumptions they made in solving each problem.

Participants in the workshop will work through assignments, discuss some of these problems, and try their hands at writing their own.

6:00-7:00 PM Dinner
Evening Activity Open labs, teams work on materials


July 19, Wednesday
7:00-8:00 AM Breakfast
1:30 - 4:30 PM Workshop 5
noon-1:00 PM Lunch
8:00-11:00 AM Workshop 6


Workshop 6: Cardiopulmonary System.
(Kim Rheinlander and Dorothy Wallace).
This session begins with a description of the Calculus for Medicine and Biology course at Dartmouth and features an exercise wherein participants model changes in blood pressure in constricted arteries. This session will include a laboratory with water and flexible tubes, as well as an analysis of models offered in terms of actual data. We will discuss the relative merits of introducing a computer package (in this case Maple) and extended applications in an introductory course in terms of the impact on downstream courses. This discussion will provide participants the opportunity to consider large scale curriculum planning.

6:00-7:00 PM Dinner
Evening Activity Open labs, team work


July, 20, Thursday
7:00 - 8:00 AM Breakfast
8:00 - 11:00 AM Workshop 5 1:30 - 4:30 PM Workshop 7

Workshop 5: Standards Based Curricula Implications for the Preservice Training of Elementary and Middle School Mathemtics Teachers
Rick Billstein, NSF/Montana Collaborative for Excellence in Teacher Preparation.

This session will focus on how middle school standards-based mathematics curricula differ from traditional curricula and what implications this may have for teacher training. The Middle Grades MathThematics materials that we will use were class tested in 25 states with over 35,000 students and much was learned in the testing. The materials are now commercially published and there have been over 600 schools adopting in the first two years. Examples of the curricula will be shown and new assessment techniques that are used with the curricula will be demonstated. Many college professors have adopted our multi-dimensional generazied scoring rubrics for use in their college classrooms. Some examples from science will be included and examples from technology will be shown if computers are available.

Workshop 7: Grant Writing: NSF Programs in Undergraduate Education, current initiatives and suggestions for writing successful proposals
Jim Lightbourne, Directorate of Undergraduate Education, NSF.

noon-9:00 PM Boatride and picnic dinner


July 21, Friday
7:00-8:00 AM Breakfast
8:00-11:00 AM Workshop 9
noon-1:00 PM Lunch
1:30 - 4:30 PM Workshop 8, group project work, cross teams

Workshop 9: Lobsters and Codfish.
(Dan Lynch, Dorothy Wallace, Kim Rheinlander).
Dan Lynch from, Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, will discuss a multidisciplinary modeling problem for currents in the Gulf of Maine. This problem includes implications for various kinds of fisheries. The discussion will be a springboard for a more general discussion of undergraduate research across Disciplines. The goal is formulating a plan of action for implementing an undergraduate research program at participants' institutions. The web will be a resource for locating ongoing research projects near the participants? institutions that could serve as the basis for student research. Teams will develop a plan of action for introducing students to the possibility of such a project and preparing them to do it. Unlike students in the laboratory sciences, mathematics students often find it difficult or impossible to connect with the research programs of faculty, so special measures need to be taken to provide research opportunities. We may view undergraduate research as the ultimate "downstream course" for our majors.

6:00-7:00 PM Dinner
Evening Activity Open labs


July 22, Saturday
7:00-8:00 AM Breakfast
8:00-11:00 AM Teams' final plans for implementation
noon-1:00 PM Lunch
1:30-4:30 PM Poster Session and reporting week's progress by institutional teams