A Pioneer of Mathematical Biology Education – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

A Pioneer of Mathematical Biology Education

Growing up, teaching came naturally to Paul Kehle. “As a student, I found myself helping people with their homework,” says the assistant professor of education. Given his combined interests in mathematics, cognition and people, becoming a mathematics-education instructor was an easy choice for him. Now, he is about to embark on an exciting new project combining the efforts of Rutgers University and the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP). The work is supported by a National Science Foundation grant.

The BIOMAP project involves creating curriculum for high school students in the interdisciplinary field called mathematical biology.

“Because of computers, many previously non-mathematical subjects are becoming mathematical,” he said, noting that biology is such a subject; it is now being fused with math. “The curriculum will introduce students to the frontiers of mathematical biology.”

The aim of the project is to create modules that could be used by either math or biology teachers. The process for creating a module is an elaborate one. After an outline is created, a year will be spent writing the module. The module will then be piloted by a small number of teachers and then revised. Next, it will be subjected to a large field-test that results in further polishing.

During the summers, Kehle will gather together with eight other college and high school faculty for intensive writing sessions during which older modules are revised and new ones are outlined. Over five years, they will produce 15 modules on topics including ecology, epidemiology and genetics.

Rutgers University is one of the country’s major research universities. COMAP is a non-profit organization that focuses on the development of mathematics education. The company has won numerous academic and television awards in addition to developing several curricula and an educational series for PBS.

Kehle recently completed a post as the Project Director for a five-year Indiana University study of elementary school mathematics curricula. After graduating from Beloit College and teaching high school math for eight years, Kehle earned his Ph.D. at Indiana University. In 2005, he joined the HWS faculty as Assistant Professor of Education.