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What is the Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 (MPE 2013) Project?

Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 (MPE 2013) is a program sponsored by 14 North American Mathematical Sciences Institutes in conjunction with many international organizations and professional societies. A key mission of MPE is to increase the engagement of mathematics and mathematicians (researchers, teachers, students, and the public) with issues of planet Earth, and in particular creating a sustainable society and economic system.

Encouraging mathematics teachers at all levels to create and use planet-related curriculum materials was among the strategies highlighted at a planning meeting for MPE held on March 9 - 11, 2011 at the American Institute of Mathematics in Palo Alto and attended by representatives from participating organizations, institutes, and societies. At the meeting, the representatives formed an MPE Curriculum Committee, co-chaired by Professors Mary Lou Zeeman of Bowdoin College and Eugene Fiorini of Rutgers University. A key curriculum-related activity identified at the planning meeting was the development of MPE-related modules for the undergraduate level, which instructors can bring into their mathematics classrooms highlighting mathematical topics associated with MPE.

What are the goals of the one-day modules?

The one-day modules, often called teasers, will be used in undergraduate classrooms in a variety of courses. Each module will target a core mathematics class. The goals of the one-day modules are to introduce a specific planet Earth topic, challenge students to engage in a discussion about the topic, and present a content-specific mathematical application with practice problems. Possible projects and references for further study complete the one page module.

How will the modules be made available to faculty?This website and information about the existence of these one-day modules will be widely distributed. Through the broader MPE 2013 program, faculty in the sciences, social sciences, mathematics, and computer science will be encouraged to use these modules to stimulate student interest in mathematics as it relates to planet earth.

Is there anything else we need to know?Several of the modules were updated for use in community colleges in 2018 as part of a follow-on effort called Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013+. The updated versions of the modules are also included for download.

MPE Module FlyerDownload:

This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants NSF DRL-1020166 and DMS-1053887. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.