This—and other BioMath Modules under development—arose from a
conference in April, 2005, held at the Center for Discrete Mathematics and
Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) at Rutgers University, organized
by Fred Roberts and Margaret Cozzens (both now at DIMACS at Rutgers
University). The conference explored methods to establish connections
between mathematics and biology, bringing together those who have tried
it, those who have made it work on the undergraduate level, and those who
know how to get new programs into the schools.
From that conference arose the NSF-sponsored Bio-Math Connection
(BMC). It develops innovative classroom materials that highlight connections between mathematics and biology and helps teachers use
at various grade levels, in either biology or mathematics classes (or both).
The main BMC products are 24 teaching/learning Modules (including
this one), together with a book (containing some of the Modules) intended
for a one-semester senior-level non-calculus-based course that will satisfy
part of state requirements for a fourth year of mathematics or science. These
materials are developed primarily for an audience of high school students,
but with little adaptation they are suitable for college students too.
BMC is seeking topics, writers, reviewers, and users for further Modules.
If you are interested, please contact COMAP
Man has grouped organisms based on physical similarities for hundreds of years.
Scientists have used these similarities to determine evolutionary relationships among
organisms. For example, a mouse and a rat have many characteristics in common,
more than a mouse shares with a chicken. Based on these observations, a mouse and a
rat are more closely related to each other than they are to a chicken; therefore, they
share a more recent common ancestor. Again based on similarities, a mouse is more
closely related to a chicken than it is to a fish.