Reading and Modeling
Mathematical Problems

Department of Mathematics
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

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Your success in Trigonometry this semester is our primary concern!

Among the academic deficiencies regularly observed by instructors of entry level mathematics courses are the problems that students have with (1) dealing with mathematical problems presented in prose style, i.e., reading mathematical statements for meaning, (2) modeling mathematical applications geometrically and algebraically, and (3) communicating their results in writing. The application of Trigonometry to the biological sciences is particularly fertile ground for addressing these deficiencies because of the nature of this course of study; it enables us to describe periodic phenomena through readily available mathematical models.

The purpose of the RaMMP materials is to contribute directly to improving your critical thinking skills by developing units to train you in techniques of reading applied mathematical problems in prose form, developing mathematical models, and drawing conclusions. The problems involve applications to the biological sciences in the Trigonometry (MATH 1613) course curriculum. The primary development activities include independent web-based interactive units using Maple TA for reading and modeling four selected applications from the biological sciences that are included in the trigonometry curriculum. The applications are: (1) blood pressure, (2) biorhythms, (3) body temperature, and (4) predator-prey analysis.

The components of the RaMMP materials are:

Part I - How to Read Mathematics for Meaning -- Making Sense of Mathematical Prose

Part II - Modeling Applications from the Biological Sciences

1. Blood Pressure
2. Biorhythms
3. Body Temperature
4. Preditor-Prey Analysis

Part III - Appendices
Appendix 1: How to Study Math - Improving Your Critical Thinking Skills
Appendix 2: How to Use the TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator
You can access these RaMMP materials on line by scrolling down to the link you want.

Good Luck!

Douglas B. Aichele
Alan V. Noell

Part I - How to Read Mathematics for Meaning - Making Sense of Mathematical Prose

We have written a brief statement that we hope will help you improve your mathematical reading and writing skills. Click on this link for the RaMMP reading materials. RaMMP Reading Mathematics for Meaning.

Part II - Modeling Applications from the Biological Sciences

We have prepared modeling exercises in four areas: (1) predator-prey analysis, (2) body temperature, (3) blood pressure, and (4) biorhythms applied to trigonometry. You will be required to complete these exercises on line using Maple TA. Click on this link to access the on line exercises. RaMMP Exercises.

Part III - Appendices
Appendix 1: How to Study Math (SM-numbered pages)

College Algebra is a prerequisite to studying Trigonometry. The reason for this is simply that the mathematical tools developed in algebra are used throughout the study of trigonometry; on a daily basis you will be using algebra skills! We have included some information from College Algebra that we thought would be helpful to you now as an appendix. Beyond skills from College Algebra, we have included some general tips on how to be successful in entry level math courses -- take a minute and look them over!

How to be Successful in Beginning Math Courses (SM-1) How to Study College Algebra (SM-4) What to Study in College Algebra (SM-7) Studying for and Taking Examinations (SM-21)

Appendix 2: How to Use the TI-83Plus Graphing Calculator (GC-numbered pages)

The graphing calculator is not a required tool in Trigonometry. However, it is strongly recommended because it can help you visually better understand the relationships that exist among the trigonometric functions and applications involving them. Links to a few programs related to using the TI-83Plus effectively are given below.

Credits. The Reading and Modeling Mathematical Problems project is made possible through funding to Oklahoma State University from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. It is based on work sponsored wholly, or in part, by the Howard Hughes Program for Retention of Undergraduates in the Biological Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

Copyright. 2007 by Oklahoma State University

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