(NEXUS) National Experiment in Undergraduate Science Education
The goal of this project is to develop new science and math support courses for biology majors and pre-healthcare students that can serve as a national model. Two key features of the project are:
The project is supported by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and involved collaboration of four universities.
- The University of Maryland, College Park (Physics)
- The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Mathematics)
- Purdue University (Chemistry)
- The University of Miami (Integrative Case Studies)
A related grant from the National Science Foundation: The Thermodynamics Project will support the development/research of materials related to thermodynamics topics specifically.
An Introductory Physics Class for Life Science Students
The development of the physics class is being carried out at the University of Maryland, College Park, by a team of physicists and biologists,in consultation with mathematicians and chemists.
Introductory physics courses are traditionally taught as if they were a student's first college science course. This course will take a different perspective. Since it is envisioned as a course specifically for biology students, we have positioned it to take place in the second year of a bio majors' schedule with the following pre-requisites:
- One year of biology including an introduction to cellular biology, biochemistry, and genetics.
- One semester of chemistry.
- One year of calculus (preferable for biologists) and basic concepts of probability.
We are designing the class so that high school physics is not required, though it might be helpful for students to have had it. As we present the class we will explore the extent to which students with and without high school physics respond.
At present, few if any upper division biology classes have physics as a pre-requisite. We hope to create a course that the teachers of upper division classes in cellular biology, organismal biology, neuroscience, and physiology will all look at our class and say, "I want my students to have had that physics class before they take my class."
For more information on the project, see the links below:
First Semester Materials
- Physics 131: Fundamentals of Physics for Biologists I (Fall 2013)
Second Semester Materials
- Physics 132: Fundamentals of Physics for Biologists II (Spring 2014)
- Energy and chemical bonds
- Random motion, diffusion, and entropy
- Mathematical reasoning
- Multi-representational translation and coherence