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IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

  • 1.  IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-03-2024 16:39:00

    Is it our role as (mathematics) educators to help our students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live? If so, how do we go about it? Feel free to share any interdisciplinary materials that you have found or that you have used.



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    Jillian Miller
    Assistant Professor of Mathematics
    Roane State CC
    Harriman TN
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  • 2.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-04-2024 01:10:00

    We help our students to understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live by showing the significant role mathematics plays in just about all aspects of our life, be it L x W to find area of throw rug to differential equations to model drug absorption. Moreover, we ought to teach them the mathematics in context with an application from other disciplines to motivate the learning. In that way we prepare them to transfer and apply their mathematical knowledge and skills to other disciplines, because they have  been learning that mathematics in connection with other disciplines. Look for every opportunity to relate the mathematics to the world we live in, not just story problems, but real problems, with real situations, real data, and real issues - important to them. We have been doing that in SIMIODE - Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations for over ten years . Yes it takes work to find meaningful applications appropriate for the mathematics under study, but failure to do so is a failure to responsibly teach the mathematics, for all of mathematics was invented to solve real-world problems.  See   SIMIODE.

    Qubeshub remove preview
    SIMIODE
    QUBES Hub - The Power of Biology, Math, and Community
    View this on Qubeshub >

     



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    Brian Winkel
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  • 3.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-07-2024 11:47:00

    Hey Brian! Thanks for sharing! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the SIMIODE content for my DE classes! I also think this content is a fabulous example of work that we could be doing in other areas! 

    I think we can all agree on the first half of your comment that "...it takes work to find meaningful applications appropriate for the mathematics under study...". Time is a valuable resource and hard to come by for any instructor. Adding to the difficulty is the need to find/create accessible applications, given the level of understanding of the students studying the content. 

    How would you respond to those who challenge the second half of your statement "...but failure to do so is a failure to responsibly teach the mathematics, for all of mathematics was invented to solve real-world problems"? A large percentage of mathematics instructors appreciate the beauty and purity of the field, the language and the ability of mathematics to further itself, forsaking (and sometimes refusing to teach) the applicable nature of the subject. I hear "my job is to teach the math, they'll learn to apply the math in their other classes" more often than I care to admit. Each facet of the field deserves respect and those of us on the interdisciplinary crusade can't ignore our counterparts if we are to continue to drive change. 



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    Jillian Miller
    Assistant Professor of Mathematics
    Roane State CC
    Harriman TN
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  • 4.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-08-2024 19:56:00

    Greetings:

    Thanks, Jillian, for highlighting the views of those who seek to keep a focus on "pure math", or maybe "abstract math", versus "applied math". I agree that our profession must maintain a clear focus on the overall principles of math, and math education, while also connecting those principles to current real-world applications.  We can only keep up with change when we have unchanging realities as our foundation.

    And thanks to Brian for reminding us of the historical motivations behind the pattern-finding and creativity that has driven much of the progress of math. In my classes, I refer to the business application of negative numbers as a historical foundation.  This helps students relate to the definitions and operations through their own experiences.

    We, and our students, need the abstract and the applied.



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    Rick Powers
    Instructor
    Western Technical College
    La Crosse WI
    powersr@westerntc.edu
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  • 5.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-04-2024 09:01:00

    Hi Jillian:

    Thanks much for this post.

    In my opinion, yes!!!  (In fact, I'm going to be giving a presentation on this very topic at AMATYC in Atlanta.)

    We live in a world of human experience that requires skill, knowledge, and emotional intelligence that touches every discipline.  So I believe our math education should reflect that reality.  We will be better at engaging students in their cultural spaces, and we can lead them on an exciting journeys of discovery.

    And we must continue to celebrate the abstract beauty of mathematics, as well!  Just one example: the symmetry of the parabola can be connected to artistic experience, as well as the change in income as we age, and projectile motion.  These are all connected to the balance of how the curve changes in a way that mathematics can explain.

    Statistics is vitally connected to this: using mathematical tools to guide decision-making based on measurement, in all disciplines.

    In all of this, the rise of technology can be of great help to us, if we are able to channel its power into educational outcomes.  We can apply our tools to show the impact of mathematics on questions of social justice, health care solutions, scientific advancement, political understanding -- all disciplines -- since a lot of the messiness of application is smoothed out by using technology.

    Here's a link to my Google Drive folder of assignments that I use in Quantitative Reasoning, to give you some examples of how I seek to connect math in different areas: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1D8ULSi1bK3LB0o9HOD8K10bBuu_fw0zS?usp=sharing 

    Thanks again for your post!



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    Rick Powers
    Instructor
    Western Technical College
    La Crosse WI
    powersr@westerntc.edu
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  • 6.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-07-2024 11:51:00

    Hey Rick!

    Thank you for sharing your resources! I can't wait to see what you share in Atlanta! 

    I also appreciate that you noted how we can use the technology in our favor in this area! There is A LOT of debate about AI at the moment but it has the potential to be a valuable resource. (That said, I do also understand the concerns that many faculty have.) Can you share in a bit more detail how you use technology (AI or not) to support your drive for change?



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    Jillian Miller
    Assistant Professor of Mathematics
    Roane State CC
    Harriman TN
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  • 7.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-08-2024 20:04:00

    Hi Jillian:

    Sure, but I'd better limit myself to just a couple of examples. :)

    Population growth: using Desmos for non-linear regression, students can fit population data to the logistic growth model, with or without exploring the derivation of the model from mathematical principles.  This approach can generate discussions about factors that affect population growth, which can veer into all kinds of interesting disciplines (economics, gender roles, political policies regarding families).  AI can help with surface-level explorations, but we can also ask questions of students like, "Where is the population of China on this curve?" or "What role should we give to experts who predict the population growth of our own region?"  In my opinion, there are significant benefits to bringing students (and teachers) into a bigger discussion of the role of math in the decision-making process of society.

    (If you are feeling adventurous, you can do logistic growth models for Covid-19, with all the issues involved.)

    Energy production: using real-life data sets, students can find the correlation and regression of daily measures of wind gusts and air pressure.  The linear equation gives us information about the relation of weather patterns to the amount of wind.  Discussing these implications can lead to questions about the production of wind energy, especially in your local area.  What are the factors determining wind farm economic viability where you live?  There's plenty of math to do, and a lot of social implications.  Once again, AI can help with this type of investigation.

    I think it's clear that these types of issues can be made personally applicable to our students, and to their future selves.  And there are connections between the behavior of the numbers in the formulas, and the social implications of the relationships.



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    Rick Powers
    Instructor
    Western Technical College
    La Crosse WI
    powersr@westerntc.edu
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  • 8.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-07-2024 12:03:00

    I, personally, believe it is our responsibility to help our students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live. I have been fortunate to work with Quantitative Biology at Community Colleges (QB@CC) since its inception. Not only has it changed the way that I approach teaching mathematics in my courses, but it has also transformed the way that I think about professional learning. Since starting with QB@CC, I have engaged in many conversations with faculty outside of mathematics and can honestly say that I have learned as much from them as I have my mathematics colleagues. 

    QB@CC has FREE modules available that you can implement in your courses RIGHT NOW! All of these modules have been developed by a team of community college math AND biology instructors to enhance interdisciplinary education; you can implement them as-is or adapt them to fit your needs! Check out our modules HERE!



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    Jillian Miller
    Assistant Professor of Mathematics
    Roane State CC
    Harriman TN
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  • 9.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-09-2024 10:15:00

    Hello Jullian, I tired to your Quantitative Biology modules, but it kept giving me an error message. Would you mind to guide me how to access those materials? Thank you!



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    Fan Chen
    Associate Professor
    El Paso CC - Valle Verde Campus
    El Paso TX
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  • 10.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-09-2024 20:53:00

    Hey Fan!

    Thank you for bringing it to my attention! I'm sorry that my link didn't work!. :( Try one of these options, if you don't mind:

    1) This link SHOULD take you directly to the modules: https://qubeshub.org/community/groups/qbcc/publications

    2) If that link doesn't work, click on THIS LINK to go to the main QB@CC page and then choose "QB@CC Modules" in the green bar (just to the right of "About QB@CC"). 



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    Jillian Miller
    Assistant Professor of Mathematics
    Roane State CC
    Harriman TN
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  • 11.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-07-2024 12:07:00

    Look at what just arrived in my email!! How timely! Check it out (below)!

    MAA OPEN Math Fall 2024 Learning Community: Building Curriculum Focused Interdisciplinary Faculty Partnerships



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    Jillian Miller
    Assistant Professor of Mathematics
    Roane State CC
    Harriman TN
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  • 12.  RE: IMPACTFUL Discussions: (How) Do you help students understand the interdisciplinary world in which we live?

    Posted 06-09-2024 21:00:00

    Hey Everybody!

    If you're looking for an opportunity to explore some interdisciplinary work in a supported environment, consider checking out the BIOME! Applications are due June 14 and they have scholarships available!

    https://qubeshub.org/community/groups/summer2024



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    Jillian Miller
    Assistant Professor of Mathematics
    Roane State CC
    Harriman TN
    ------------------------------