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PREP 2012 Modeling: Early and Often in Undergraduate Calculus

This is the original public interface to materials for the MAA PREP 2012 workshop on modeling-based calculus. The materials themselves are now posted at

The workshop will be held July 9-13, 2012 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. If you are interested in registering, go to the MAA registration page.

Participant Resources

Before the Meeting

These are readings and presentations to peruse before the workshop.

Syllabi for Modeling-Based Calculus Courses

Modeling in the Curriculum

  • Identifying Modeling Concepts from the MOSAIC kick-off workshop: video and slides
  • A panel discussion on modeling-based calculus with Mariah Birgen, Laurie Heyer, and Joe Mahaffy video and slides

Settings for Modeling Case Studies

During and after the workshop, participants will develop a modeling case study that's relevant to a course they teach. Here are some suggested settings for case studies. The name identifies the person who suggested the setting.

  • The Island: Letting Students Experiment and College Data by Michael Bulmer video. This is a simulation of realistic demographics, disease, and physiology from which students can collect data for modeling.
  • Michaelis-Menton dynamics and data: Randy Pruim
  • Weight Loss and the difference between linear and exponential models. Article in the Lancet
  • Facebook, logistic and other S-functions, by Chad Topaz. blog entry
  • Heat engines: Danny Kaplan and Dan Flath (links to Math 135 handouts)
  • Pressure and volume in cardiology, Dan Flath. wikipedia article and a draft write-up by Dan.
  • Normal forest cycle optimization. Eric Marland
  • Microwave popcorn, derivatives and related rates. Danny Kaplan
  • ISLM model in economics. Dan Flath
  • Using simple lab instrumentation, e.g. Vernier LabPro
  • GPS position and velocity. Danny Kaplan
  • Dimensional analysis and the atomic bomb, by Chad Topaz video and slides
  • Mosquito-borne disease epidemics, by Jeff Knisely video and slides
  • Fish growth (for a differential equations/dynamics course). M-CAST presentation by Rachel Miller Neilen (video and slides) and link to the Stierhoff, Targett, and Miller article from which the data are drawn.
  • Modeling Love, War, and Zombies: David Joyner video and slides
  • Coupled Oscillators: Joggers, Fireflies and Finger Coordination: Tanya Leise video and slides

Computer Resources

The workshop leaders will attempt to help participants using any of the commonly used commercial mathematical computation systems: Mathematica, Maple, MATLAB, etc.

We will focus instruction, however, on two specific systems: R and Sage. We figure that if you already have access to a commercial system, you likely already have resources to learn it. For those new to teaching with computation, R and Sage are particularly attractive since they are powerful, free, and can be accessed by students via a web browser interface.