Date of Award:

Fall 2016

Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mathematics and Statistics


James A. Powell


In addition to the memorization, algorithmic skills and vocabulary which is the default focus in many mathematics classrooms, professional mathematicians are expected to creatively apply known techniques, construct new mathematical approaches and communicate with and about mathematics. We propose that students can learn these professional, higher level skills through Laboratory Experiences in Mathematical Biology (LEMBs) which put students in the role of mathematics researcher creating mathematics to describe and understand biological data. LEMBs are constructed so they require no specialized equipment and can easily be run in the context of a college math class. Students collect data and develop mathematical models to explain the data. In this work examine how LEMBs are designed with the student as the primary focus. We explain how well-designed LEMBs lead students to interact with mathematics at higher levels of cognition while building mathematical skills sought after in both academia and industry. Additionally, we describe the online repository created to assist in the teaching and further development of LEMBs. Since student-centered teaching is foreign to many post-secondary instructors, we provide research-based, pedagogical strategies to ensure student success while maintaining high levels of cognition.



Included in

Mathematics Commons