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Abstract Title: Teaching biology students to use math in science: Issues of language, culture, and identity.
Abstract: Interdisciplinary instruction is common in STEM instruction. Physicists teach engineers; chemists teach biologists; and mathematicians teach everybody. But disciplines create distinct cultures – conventions, goals, expectations, and epistemologies – leading to some serious challenges. We have created an introductory physics class for life science and health care students with the goal of helping students learn to use math in science, a topic known to be difficult for this population.  We apply different lenses to get complementary perspectives learning to use math in science. First, we treat math as a language with distinct dialects and ways of making meaning.  Second, we consider cultural issues,  especially disciplinary epistemological expectations . Finally, we consider how the individual student's sense of self and identity plays a role.  These issues interact and give insights into the complexity of the problem and show that there is much more going on than "the students don't know enough math."
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Edward F Redish
University of Maryland
Department of Physics
College Park, MD 20742-4111
Phone: 3014056120
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Mark Eichenlaub, Deborah Hemingway, Chandra Turpen
Department of Physics, University of Maryland, College Park