|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
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
175 Middlesex Turnpike, Suite 3B
Bedford, MA 01730