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Undergraduate Sustainability Experiences in Mathematics (USE Math) at the Beach


Dates: May 12 - May 17, 2014

To Register visit the MAA PREP registration website

Location: Chincoteague Bay Field Station at the Marine Science Consortium, Wallops Island, VA


Undergraduate Sustainability Experiences in Mathematics (USE Math) projects are sustainability-focused, technology-enabled, single class-period projects, each offering students authentic experiences within the context of sustainability in applying various mathematical topics encountered in introductory mathematics courses. The USE Math at the Beach workshop will introduce USE Math projects to educators in meaningful ways, through active use of existing projects, sharing of ideas, and development of new USE Math projects.

Before the workshop, participants will:

  • Investigate sustainability as a teaching topic. Participants will be introduced to resources such as the Sustainability Improves Student Learning (SISL) website, that highlight why and how sustainability themes can be used in the undergraduate classroom.
  • Study current USE Math projects. Sustainability focused materials from the MAA Workshop Educating with Math for a Sustainable Future, as well as other sources, will be available for participants to investigate.
  • Identify connections between their campus and the shoreline. Participants will bring ideas, information and data from their locale to share at the workshop.

 At the workshop participants will:

  • Learn how to incorporate existing USE Math modules into their classroom. Participants will be exposed to USE Math by actively working through classroom tested activities.
  • Engage in field data collection activities. Field station experts will lead data collection excursions along the beach, in the bay and through the salt marsh.
  • Explore the relationship between sustainability and mathematics on our shorelines. Sustainability focused educators and professionals will give presentations and lead discussions on coastal erosion, marine population dynamics and the economics of market prices.
  • Develop new USE Math projects. Using data collected in field, participants will work in groups – identified by mathematics class level – to modify current projects and create new USE Math projects for use in their classroom.

After the workshop, participants will:

  • Use the materials and evaluate their effectiveness. Instructors will leave with a set of classroom ready projects and will provided with evaluation materials. Results will be shared with the group.
  • Share work. Workshop participants will be encouraged to publish their projects to the SERC website and to submit a talk on their project to present at the USE Math Contributed Paper Session at JMM 2015. We also anticipate inviting a few individuals to present results at the MAA/NSF Poster Session at JMM 2015.
Primary funding for this MAA PREP workshop is provided by NSF DUE-12345937, additional funding provided by NSF DUE-0817071

USE Math at the Beach

Chincoteague Bay Field Station - Wallops Island, VA

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