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Mathematics Exercises in Biotechnology 

03-21-2022 11:22:31

AMATYC received supplemental funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the project “Technical Mathematics for Tomorrow: Recommendations and Exemplary Programs.” Project recommendations for the original phase were contained in the publication A Vision: Mathematics for the Emerging Technologies. Each member of AMATYC received a copy of the Vision. Among the recommendations in the Vision was a reform in mathematics texts.

Participants felt that textbooks should include writing assignments, projects, technology-based activities, a sufficient amount of skill-and-drill exercises, useful web materials, and information relevant to the technologies represented in their mathematics courses. They also felt that some
materials should include too much information and other materials should omit some relevant information and force students to find the missing information.

The materials the participants described are, for the most part, not available in areas of emerging technologies. The additional funding was used to create these types of materials for biotechnology area. The materials were created for the classroom and should reflect the mathematics needed in biotechnology.

The effort involved nine biotechnologists and three mathematicians. Each biotech person developed about 14 problems. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy, each problem was classified at one of Bloom’s six levels. Each person originally developed at least one problem in each level. A 2 1
2 day workshop was held at Wake Technical Community College, May 16–19, 2004. At this workshop, the biotechnologists interacted with several two-year college mathematics faculty. The purpose of the workshop was to refine the work of each person and make sure that the content was sound, from both a biological and mathematical view, and that the problems were appropriate for the two-year curriculum. At the workshop, several of the problems were merged in order to reduce duplication. Also, many of the anwsers were rewritten to make them more understandable to mathematicians. A glossary at the end of this document will help explain some of the biotech concepts.

The problems were “field tested” with several Wake Tech students. A themed session at the AMATYC Conference in Orlando, Florida highlighted these projects. Authors presented the projects and answered questions about the context.

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