"In far too many high schools today, math and biology might as well be in different worlds," said Midge Cozzens, consultant on the grant and associate director of the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, a private foundation that promotes quality math and science teaching in high schools. "Not only do aspiring biologists need solid math grounding, but mathematics students need to see the breadth of applications and career opportunities available to them."
Cozzens and Roberts last year organized the first DIMACS conference on linking mathematics and biology in high schools, bringing together 100 high school teachers, administrators, university researchers and students to explore how to strengthen instruction, develop needed materials and overcome obstacles to introducing interdisciplinary topics. In addition, they have been working with seed grants over the past three summers, including a $100,000 academic excellence award from Rutgers, to support small groups of teachers who wrote instructional materials for mathematics and biology and tested them in their schools during the following academic years.
"This effort fits squarely into our mission to produce educational materials that showcase interesting and contemporary applications of math," said Sol Garfunkel, co-principal investigator and founder and executive director of COMAP, a nonprofit mathematics curriculum development group. "The modular approach to instructional materials will make bite-sized pieces available to teachers and schools so they can introduce new concepts quickly without having to scrap their existing lessons and textbooks."
An important component of the project will be evaluation of the materials. The team will l
Contact: Joseph Blumberg
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey