What is the BioMath Connection (BMC) Project?
BMC was a pioneering project linking biology and mathematics in the high schools. It provided an opportunity for high school teachers, writers, researchers, and others to get in on the ground floor of developing innovative classroom materials. The materials consist of 20 modules that can be flexibly adapted for use in a variety of courses at a variety of grade levels in both biology and mathematics. The project was run by DIMACS at Rutgers University in collaboration with the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP) and Colorado State University (CSU).
Food webs are abstract representations of feeding relationships in communities and use a series of arrows from one species to another where the first is a source of food for the second. Discrete mathematics provides a model for a food web using a directed graph (digraph) whose vertices are the species and an arc goes from a to b if a is food for b. Digraphs representing food webs make understanding predator prey relationships easier and various properties of digraphs provide insight into properties of the food web and the species contained within. Overarching questions in this module include, "What effect would the removal of a species have on the associated food web?" and "Why are there so few top predators?"
Biology: Food webs, predator/prey dynamics, energy transfer.
Mathematics: Discrete mathematics, graph theory, mathematical modeling.
Biology: Basic understanding of species requirements for survival.
Mathematics: Basic understanding of algebra and flow charts.
This unit consists of 5 lessons and will take 4-6 class periods (45-minutes each) if the majority of work is done during class.