You are here

Biological ESTEEM - Overview

John Jungck

Simulations and
Tools for
Exploratory, Experiential

The Three E's of the Collection:

Excel    Microsoft's spreadsheet software Excel was chosen as a general development environment for the ESTEEM project because most biologists and mathematicians have it on their desktop computers, use it at least minimally for data collection, and find it fairly easy to operate. In addition, Excel is powerful enough to develop applications that involve matrix algebra, statistics, finite difference equations, and simple ordinary differential equations.

Exploratory    Since parameters are so easy to change in Excel and it is so easy to import data from diverse and heterogeneous resources, our modules are intended to be adoptable, adaptable, extensible, flexible, and utilitarian for students who are engaged in a variety of biology and mathematics courses. We often have built templates that are easily employed for major modification to modules or easy mimicry to include new data sets or additional complication to current models.

Experiential    A primary intention of the Biological ESTEEM project has been to sample elementary applications of mathematics across the spectrum of activity-based general biology curricula. Particular attention was paid to equations that have significantly transformed contemporary biological practice  and that are widely used in classroom, laboratory, and field activities in the context of measurement, analysis, modeling, and hypothesis testing. Through extensive use of simulations, tools, and databases, we believe that students will have an opportunity to develop an intuitive sense of the power, utility, and beauty of applying mathematics to biology.

Accessory materials for each module

In addition to a downloadable Excel (.xls) file, each module is supplemented with references to textbooks where the relevant biology and mathematics are introduced, the original sources of such models, current research articles that employ the models explicitly or derivatives of these models, and online related resources. In some instances, additional documentation, other software (particularly Java Applets and remotely run Web Mathematica applications), classroom-lab-field activities, science and mathematics education research references, and historical material are also provided.

The Biological ESTEEM Collection is an open collection

In addition to our continued development of modules, we invite biologists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and other interested parties to contribute new modules or to suggest major revisions to currently existing modules.

Support for this project was provided by three NSF grants: DUE-0232823 (National Dissemination BEDROCK), CFDA No. 47.076 (MAA NSDL), The SHODOR Education Foundation, and EPIC (Engaging People in Cyberinfrastructure), the HHMI Digital Scholars program, matching funds from Beloit College, and generous contributions from members of the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium.

 BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium


John Jungck, "Biological ESTEEM - Overview," Convergence (December 2005)