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Mathematics 119

MATH 119: Mathematics for Biology

Prerequisites: None

Credit Hours: (3)

Mathematical techniques for biology.  Topics include a review of real number operations, probability, graphing, linear, exponential and power functions and difference equations with numerous applications in biology.  This course has been approved for Core Curriculum credit in Mathematical Sciences.


Detailed Description of Course

The mathematics of this course contain the following topics

1. The Real Number System

            a. The real number line

            b. Scientific notation, significant digits

            c. Logarithmic scales

2. Rules of Operations

            a. basic Properties

            b. Binomial Formulas

            c. Solving equations

3. Review of Geometric Formulas

            a. Area, perimeter

            b. Volume, surface area

4. Ratios, Rates, Proportions

            a. Normalization and percentages

            b. Unit conversions

5. Probability

            a. Definition

            b. Addition rule

            c. Multiplication rule

            6. Linear Functions

a. Linear models

            b. Graphs

            c. Approximations

7. Exponentials and Logarithms

            a. Properties of exponentials and logarithms

            b. Semilog and loglog graphs

            c. Doubling times and half-lives

8. Power Functions

9. Difference Equations

            a. Linear growth

            b. Exponential (geometric) growth

            c. Logistic models

The presentation of the material will be driven by biological applications.  These may include the Hardy-Weinberg equation, dilutions, the capture-recapture method, surface to volume ratios, isotope ratios, pH scales, decibels, Richter scale, population models, drug concentrations, and spread of diseases.

 Graphing calculators and/or computer software, such as excel, will be used.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will be predominantly conducted in the lecture format, with sufficient time set aside for in-class practice and discussion.  Team work will be encouraged.


Student Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students successfully completing this course will be able to apply mathematical techniques in solving problems from biology.   In particular, the student will be able to:

• identify and interpret relationships among symbolic, numeric and graphical information

• generate and use models for biological applications

• solve problems arising in a biological setting

• use Excel or other software for data analysis and graphing

Goal 5: Radford University students will be able to use the tools of mathematics and quantitative

reasoning to conceptualize and solve problems. Radford University students will be able to:

• identify and interpret relationships among numeric, symbolic and graphical information

• generate mathematical models using numeric, symbolic and graphical information for use in real-world applications

• solve problems using numeric, symbolic and graphical information


Assessment Measures

Students may be assessed on their content knowledge using traditional instruments, including tests, quizzes, homework and projects.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

April 13, 2012