DIMACS Conference on Linking Mathematics and Biology in the High Schools

April 29 - 30, 2005
DIMACS Center, CoRE Building, Rutgers University

Fred Roberts, DIMACS, froberts@dimacs.rutgers.edu
Midge Cozzens, Colorado Institute of Technology, mcozzens@coloradoit.org

Abstracts for Discussion Groups:

Topic 1: Bringing Cutting Edge Math-Bio into Urban Schools

Moderator: Jerry Golden, Rutgers University

Title: Bringing Cutting-Edge Math/Bio Into Urban Schools

As we develop connections between cutting-edge biological advances and mathematics, it is essential that teachers and students in major urban school districts benefit fully from the resulting educational opportunities. This discussion group will explore strategies for achieving this goal, drawing on the experience base of participants.

Topic 2: How does Technology Play a Role in the Bio-Math Interface?

Moderator: Kathy Shay, Middlesex County College

How can technology be used in enhancing the bio-math interface? How can we use it in teaching? Does existing or potential technology have implications are there for topics in biology and mathematics that are important?

Topic 3: What Role Does a Research Experience Play in the Bio-Math Interface?

Moderator: Jean Vanski, NSF

There has been a long history of research experiences for teachers, as well as students, in Teacher Enhancement programs, especially those funded by NSF. Rutgers has had a number of grants from NSF in both biology and mathematics to do just that. Probably the most dramatic example of research experiences was the Teachers in Antarctica project which went on for five years. Teachers actually lived in Antarctica working on a number of research projects and then brought the experiences back to their own classrooms. Hopefully this panel will address a number of specific questions relative to the mathematics/biology interface:

1. Is it possible to effectively provide mathematical-biology research experiences for biology teachers with not much background in biology and vice versa? Are the problems doable at that level?

2. Assuming the answer to 1. is yes, is it possible to translate the problems to a level manageable by high school students in the teachers' classrooms?

3. What is the overall value of research experiences from your (the panel) vantage point?

Topic 4: Implementing BIO2010: Practical Strategies

Moderator: Eric Marland, Mathematical Sciences, Appalachian State University

It is all nice and good to believe that I should follow the guidelines of BIO2010, but where do I start? What if I have very little time? Where am I likely to run into difficulties? How do I convince my colleagues to go along with it? Where can I get help? I should be able to get everything going in a semester or two, right? Discussions will focus on college prep and undergraduate study.

Topic 5: Mathematical Manipulative Models: Kinesthetic Learning in Mathematical Biology

Moderator: John Jungck, Biology, Beloit College

Tactile models frequently facilitate kinesthetic learners' ability to understand and appreciate both biological and mathematical concepts. Materials such as knots, toys, puzzles, game boards, origami, and analog devices will be discussed. Biological and mathematical examples will include: knot theory and DNA topoisomerases, predator-prey and SIR epidemiological population interactions, geometric analysis of polygonal and polyhedral patterns, probability distribution devices and quantitative genetics, and Chinese rings and peg solitaire applied to genetic codes. In an age of computer visualization, I believe that the retention and development of models with potential for physical interactivity to link mathematics and biology for many students is still very important. Please bring examples of some of your favorite manipulatives to show and discuss.

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Document last modified on April 11, 2005.