Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



In G. Ledder, J. P. Carpenter, and T. D. Comar (eds.), Undergraduate Mathematics for the Life Sciences: Processes, Models, and Directions, Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Notes series, 81, pp. 69–82.


Copyright 2013 Mathematical Association of America. Used by permission.


As part of an interdepartmental effort to attract promising young students to research at the interface between mathematics and biology, we created a course in which groups of recent high school graduates and first-year college students conducted a research project in insect population dynamics. The students set up experiments, collected data, used the data to develop mathematical models, tested their models against further experiments, and prepared their results for dissemination. The course was self-contained in that the lecture portion developed the mathematical, statistical, and biological background needed for the research. A special writing component helped students learn the principles of scientific writing and presentation. The success of the course was indicated by the high quality of student work and positive feedback from the students.