North Park University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 2548-2552
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.1547
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Integrating Mathematics Skills and Biology Concepts for Students Entering the Biology Major at North Park University

Our students enter the biology major with varying levels of mathematics and computer skills. Modern sciences rely on objective data and data analysis. For many of our students, insecurity regarding their mathematics skills and ability, a lack of facility in transferring math fundamentals into laboratory applications, and even math anxiety play significant roles in student struggles with performance in the classroom and laboratory. Addressing these issues in a course early in the student’s trajectory in the major will provide them with a solid grounding in theoretical and practical skills that can be applied throughout the major. With this foundation, students will be better prepared for success in the major.

This course is conceived as an integrated 4sh one semester class with lab and a 2sh course in developmental mathematics. Concepts will be introduced and practiced in lecture and weekly laboratories will provide practical applications of the concepts. This innovative program is a joint effort of two professors in the mathematics and biology departments. The course is intended to meet the mathematics requirement at the Intermediate Algebra level.

• Review concepts learned in previous mathematics courses.
• Apply mathematical concepts to subject matter in biology.
• Use statistical principles and technology to analyze data.
• Be familiar with the use of Labquest and its sensors in the collection and an analysis of data.
• Construct graphical representations of data for display and analysis.

• Student will be able to calculate percent error and understand its importance.
• Student will be able to demonstrate ability to display data in graphical forms.
• Student will be able to collect and convert data using Labquest.
• Student will be able to select and apply appropriate statistical methods.
• Student will understand and apply log transforms in the analysis of data.
• Student will be able to use mathematical models in planning experiments and in assessing the data.

Some topics to be included are:
Week 1 – precision and accuracy, calculation of percent error, use of pipettes
Week 2 – SI units, scientific notation, linear, areal, volumetric measures
Week 3 – molecular weight and molar and normal solutions, dilutions, making solutions and dilutions; reading spectrophotometer
Week 4 – balancing equations
Week 5 – logarithms and exponentials
Week 6 – Descriptive statistics, use of EXCEL spreadsheets
Week 7 – Excel “what if” functions
Weeks 8 and 9 – using and setting up graphs in EXCEL, choosing appropriate graphs, showing trendlines and log transforms, enzyme kinetics lab
Week 10 – mathematical modeling and predictions
Week 11 – population growth equations, yeast population growth
Week 12 – basic parametric statistics; t-tests
Week 13 – Chi square tests, Punnett squares and probability
Week 14 –Hardy-Weinberg equations
Week 15 – Non-parametric statistics
Mathematics, biology, entering students.