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Mathematics: Modeling Our World (ARISE)
The Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP, Inc.) has been dedicated to presenting mathematics through contemporary applications since 1980. Over the past five years, COMAP has worked with a team of over 20 authors to produce Mathematics: Modeling Our World, a curriculum which develops mathematics concepts in the contexts in which they are actually used. The word "modeling" is the key.

Mathematics: Modeling Our World is founded on the principle that mathematics is a necessary tool for understanding the physical and social worlds in which we live. This is not the same as saying that mathematics can be applied. Rather, important questions about the "real world" come first and serve to motivate the development of the mathematics. Thus the contextual questions "drive" the mathematics. As students discover a variety of ways to solve a problem, they not only learn mathematics and content in other curriculum areas, but they also learn how to reason mathematically, organize and analyze data, make predictions, prepare and present reports, and revise their predictions based on new information.

Students learn best when they are actively involved in the process. In Mathematics: Modeling Our World, each unit is based on engaging, real-life situations and the problems and conditions associated with them. For example, students analyze various voting methods used throughout the world, predict changes in the Florida manatee population relative to powerboat use, and analyze the effectiveness of poling samples in medical testing.

Using technology and group work, students explore situations that offer a wide variety of mathematical concepts. Mathematical modeling is a central focus of the curriculum. In the modeling process, they identify key features of the context being studied, build a simple model, test it against various criteria, and modify the model in an effort to improve its description of the real context. By integrating technology into the learning process, working with others to solve problems and presenting their findings in a variety of ways, students are better prepared than ever to enter the real world of work or higher education.

Both graphing calculators and computers are used extensively throughout the curriculum to assist in carrying out the "messy" computations of real problems and to enhance concept development. Software written specifically for Mathematics: Modeling Our World is provided with the program; other software may be downloaded from the Internet at no charge. While it is strongly recommended that computers be used with this curriculum, materials are provided to teach the lessons without computers as well.

For more information about the curriculum and how to order materials, contact:

Sol Garfunkel or
Laurie Aragon
175 Middlesex Turnpike, Suite 3B
Bedford, MA 01730
Toll-Free: 800-772-6627
Fax: 781-863-1202
COMAP website

Additional MMOW Resources:

Outline of Curriculum
Examples of Curriculum [pdf]
Evaluation Data
Teacher Support & Resources

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Last Revised: 07/02/08