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Abstract Title: Developing biologically relevant mathematical competence in introductory physics
Abstract: Quantitative skills and mathematical reasoning are considered central to
introductory physics. Increasingly, physics is seen as a place where students
can begin to develop skills that are critical for modern biology such as using
mathematical representations to organize conceptual understanding, reasoning
about parametric dependence and limiting cases, understanding the implications
of units as dimensions, and making and justifying quantitative estimations.
In our introductory physics course for life science majors our aim is to help
students see the relevance and utility of mathematical reasoning. We do so
by explicitly integrating biology examples into the course and by emphasizing
how math can be used to deepen understanding. In this poster we present an
analysis of student reactions to math in this course and discuss the challenges
and opportunities of developing biologically relevant mathematical competence in
introductory physics.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Julia Gouvea
University of Maryland, College Park
Phone: 6313382456
and Co-Presenter(s)
Benjamin Dreyfus, Benjamin Geller, Vashti Sawtelle, Chandra Turpen, Joe Redish