Mathematics and the environment: A compilation of useful information

Posted May 12th, 2010 at 5:01 pm.

Naomi Hamermesh

Mentor: Dr. Victor Donnay

Sustainability as it relates to the environment is the concept that we need to use our natural resources in such a way that future generations will still be able to live and be ‘sustained’ by our planet. This summer, I will be looking into ways that we can incorporate environmental sustainability concepts into mathematics education to better engage students in both math concepts and issues of sustainability. I will conduct research on the web to see what curriculums already exist on the subject and test the curriculums that I find by actually doing the problems associated with the various curriculums. I will also meet with Jim McGaffin, the Assistant Director for Energy and Project Management in the Facilities department at Bryn Mawr College to come up with a few topics on sustainability as it relates to Bryn Mawr for use in Professor Donnay’s spring semester Senior Conference as well as other future math courses taught at Bryn Mawr. This information could be used to incorporate sustainability concepts, as they relate specifically to our campus, into the math curriculum at Bryn Mawr. My hope is to compile a database of information including where information on sustainability curriculums can be found as well as answer keys to various curriculums and a few problem sets, which I will develop over the course of the summer about sustainability at Bryn Mawr. This database will be used as a resource for the Environmental Sustainability program for teachers that Professor Donnay is developing in conjunction with faculty from various Pennsylvania area colleges and universities spanning several different disciplines. It is my hope that in conducting this research, I will discover a potential topic of interest for me to look into in further detail in the form of a senior thesis.

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