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ERIC Number: EJ898116
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1931-7913
From Biology to Mathematical Models and Back: Teaching Modeling to Biology Students, and Biology to Math and Engineering Students
Chiel, Hillel J.; McManus, Jeffrey M.; Shaw, Kendrick M.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v9 n3 p248-265 Fall 2010
We describe the development of a course to teach modeling and mathematical analysis skills to students of biology and to teach biology to students with strong backgrounds in mathematics, physics, or engineering. The two groups of students have different ways of learning material and often have strong negative feelings toward the area of knowledge that they find difficult. To give students a sense of mastery in each area, several complementary approaches are used in the course: 1) a "live" textbook that allows students to explore models and mathematical processes interactively; 2) benchmark problems providing key skills on which students make continuous progress; 3) assignment of students to teams of two throughout the semester; 4) regular one-on-one interactions with instructors throughout the semester; and 5) a term project in which students reconstruct, analyze, extend, and then write in detail about a recently published biological model. Based on student evaluations and comments, an attitude survey, and the quality of the students' term papers, the course has significantly increased the ability and willingness of biology students to use mathematical concepts and modeling tools to understand biological systems, and it has significantly enhanced engineering students' appreciation of biology. (Contains 7 figures.)
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; e-mail: ascbinfo@ascb.org; Website: http://www.ascb.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio