2007 Historically Black Colleges & Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCUUP) National Research Conference 
Facility: Grant Hyatt Hotel 
Date(s): October 4, 2007  October 7, 2007

Abstract/Description:
The Biological ESTEEM Project
(Excel Simulations and Tools for Exploratory, Experiential Mathematics):
A BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium – AAAS BEN Project on
Implementing NRC Bio 2010’s Recommendations for More Mathematics in Undergraduate Biology Education
John R. Jungck
Department of Biology
Beloit College
Catherine Dinitra White
Department of Biology
North Carolina A & T University
In 2003 NRC made eight major recommendations for the improvement of undergraduate biology education in its publication: BIO2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists
< http://www.nap.edu/books/0309085357/html/> . The first two of these recommendations both emphasized the need for more attention to the inclusion of more mathematics:
“it is important that all students understand the growing relevance of quantitative science in addressing lifescience questions. Thus, a better integration of quantitative applications in biology would not only enhance life science education for all students, but also decrease the chances that mathematically talented students would reject life sciences as too soft.” … “Most biology majors take no more than one year of calculus, although some also take an additional semester of statistics. Very few are exposed to discrete mathematics, linear algebra, probability, and modeling topics, which could greatly enhance their future research careers. These are often considered advanced courses; however, many aspects of discrete math or linear algebra that would be relevant to biology students do not require calculus as a prerequisite. While calculus remains an important topic for future biologists, the committee does not believe biology students should study calculus to the exclusion of other types of mathematics.”
Explicit strategies for implementing these recommendations were the subject of a followup conference entitled “Meeting the Challenges: Education Across the Biological, Mathematical and Computer Sciences”
< http://www.maa.org/mtc/ > and a book published by the Mathematics Association of America entitled: Math & Bio: Linking Undergraduate Disciplines (ISBN 0883858185). We, members of the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, were funded to develop modules to address these challenges through a new initiative: the Biological ESTEEM Project (Excel Simulations and Tools for Exploratory, Experiential Mathematics) . ESTEEM is an open source, copyleft project so all materials are freely downloadable and modifiable. Some of these applications grew out of our edited ASM Press book to accompany the ASM telecourse: “Unseen Life on Earth,” entitled Microbes Count!: Problem Posing, Problem Solving, and Persuading Peers in Microbiology (editors: John R. Jungck, Marion Field Fass, and Ethel D. Stanley). Some ESTEEM modules include models of population growth, fractal trees, seashell patterns, food webs, microarray analyses, image analysis, burst models of lytic phage growth, two species competition, LuriaDelbrück fluctuation test and rate of mutation, Boolean algebra models of operons, enzyme kinetics, epidemiology, phylogenetic tree construction, and many bioinformatics applications. The NRC recommended areas: “discrete mathematics, linear algebra, probability, and modeling topics” will be illustrated through materials that we have developed in biochemistry, bioinformatics, biometrics, developmental biology, ecology, evolution, genetics, microbiology, and physiology. All materials are easily run on economical microcomputers (PCs and Macs) equipped with Microsoft Excel and a web browser. Biological ESTEEM modules are freely downloadable from the “Digital Classroom Resources” site in the Mathematics NSDL (National Science Digital Library). Furthermore, they will all become available through AAAS’s NSDL portal BEN (BioSciEdNet). Discussion of strategies for the adoption, adaptation, and implementation of these curricular materials in general biology and mathematics classes, as well as in upper level undergraduate science courses, will be emphasized.
Support for this project was provided by three NSF grants: DUE0232823 (National Dissemination BEDROCK), CFDA No. 47.076 (MAA NSDL), AAAS BEN NSDL, and EPIC (Engaging People in Cyberinfrastructure), the HHMI subcontract: NUMB3R5 COUNT! (Numerical Undergraduate Mathematical Biology Education…), matching funds from Beloit College, and generous contributions from members of the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium.

BioQUEST Staff Attending:
John Jungck
