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ERIC Number: EJ810986
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-1051-1970
Using the Scientific Method to Motivate Biology Students to Study Precalculus
Fulton, James P.; Sabatino, Linda
PRIMUS, v18 n1 p5-21 Jan 2008
During the last two years we have developed a precalculus course customized around biology by using the scientific method as a framework to engage and motivate biology students. Historically, the precalculus and calculus courses required for the Suffolk County Community College biology curriculum were designed using examples from the physical sciences with little direct relation to biology. The biology-related mathematics in the curriculum was limited to that presented in biology courses. Favorable results from the biology department spreadsheet and web page LICIL project to increase math awareness led us to our current NSF CCLI project to develop an alternative approach to teaching mathematics to biology students. We selected the scientific method because it is taught at the beginning of every introductory biology course and is also the first fundamental level at which mathematics and biology are connected. In this article, we describe the scientific method approach to introducing precalculus, the sequence of topics covered in precalculus and the introductory biology course, and the challenges and successes of implementing this new course where mathematics topics are presented from the standpoint of a scientific experiment. Examples of the computer lab component of the course where Excel is used for data organization and analysis are provided along with how the scientific method can be used in precalculus to make predictive models that have direct relevance to the biology curriculum. (Contains 3 tables.)
Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York