Mathematical and Scientific Understanding
Learning Goal: Mathematics and science courses that are part of the core curriculum will develop quantitative, observational, and problem solving abilities of students. In addition to gaining an understanding of content and methodologies, students will examine mathematics and science as a creative endeavor. They will also consider the social and ethical issues of scientific inquiry and application.
Mathematics Learning Outcomes: Students will
- Apply abstract and logical reasoning to identify patterns and solve mathematical problems; and
- Communicate mathematical ideas and concepts accurately and clearly using mathematical symbols, language, and formulas.
Scientific Learning Outcomes: Students will
- Demonstrate an understanding of scientific concepts, principles, and theories that explain the natural and physical world; and
- Collect, analyze, and interpret empirical data gathered in a laboratory or field setting; and
- Examine social or ethical issues that arise in the process of scientific inquiry or out of scientific or technological developments.
Rationale (i.e., the intention of the proposed outcomes): While Mathematical and Scientific Understanding are included in the same learning goal, they constitute two distinct ways of knowing. Thus, we have divided the outcomes. "Science" is the practice of gathering data about the natural/physical world, formulating hypotheses about how the world works based on that data, testing and revising and inductively arguing one s way forward. "Mathematics", on the other hand, assumes the validity of certain premises and argues deductively from them.
Mathematics Outcomes: Outcome #1 is written to be intentionally broad, to include both pure and applied mathematics. Outcome #2 is about students ability to communicate their knowledge in this area.
Science Outcomes: Outcome #1 makes clear that by science we intend students to be able to understand the way of knowing constitutive of the natural and physical sciences, rather than one of the many other disciplines that uses the term science (e.g., the social sciences). The areas of the natural and physical world that it may address should be understood broadly (e.g., physics, chemistry, biology, neuroscience, anatomy). Outcome #2 uses the phrase laboratory or field setting in order to make it clear that lab should be understood in the broadest possible way. Outcome #3 intends that students have demonstrated some understanding of one or more of the social and/or ethical issues that occur within or result from developments in modern science.
Implementation: All students are required to take one course satisfying the Mathematics Learning Outcomes, and one course satisfying the Scientific Learning Outcomes. Such courses may be offered from a number of different disciplines (including Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics). Mathematical Understanding courses must meet both of the proposed learning outcomes. Scientific Understanding courses must meet all three of the proposed learning outcomes, with the exception that introduction-to-the-major science courses (specifically, Chemistry 8/9, Physics 1/2 and Physics 10/11) need to meet only outcomes #1 and #2.
Oversight: The Mathematical and Scientific Underestanding Working Group performs the initial review of courses proposed to meet the learning goals of the Core Curriculum, and thus serves as the liaison between departments and disciplinary experts, and the Core Curriculum Committee.
Courses designated as fulfilling Mathematical Understanding:
- Mathematics 3: Finite Mathematics Proposal & Syllabus
- Mathematics 4: Introduction to Probability and Statistics Proposal Syllabus
- Mathematics 10: The Art and Practice of Mathematics Proposal Syllabus
- Mathematics 13: Calculus with Elementary Function I Proposal Syllabus
- Mathematics 14: Calculus with Elementary Functions II
- Mathematics 27: Calculus I Proposal Syllabus
- Mathematics 101: Fundamental Mathematical Concepts II Proposal Syllabus
- Psychology 105: Advanced Psychological Statistics Proposal Syllabus
Courses designated as fulfilling the Scientific Understanding goal:
- Biology 7/8: Biological Anthropology Proposal Syllabus
- Biology 10/11: Introduction to Biology Proposal Syllabus
- Biology 40/41: Introduction to Microbiology Proposal/Syllabus
- Biology 50/51: General Biology Proposal Syllabus
- Biology 80/81: Human Biology Proposal/Syllabus
- Biology 88/89: Biology of Women Proposal Syllabus
- Chemistry 8/9: General Chemistry I Proposal Syllabus- Chem 9 Syllabus-Chem 8 Syllabus
- Environmental and Earth Science 40/41: Geology and the Earth Proposal Syllabus
- Environmental and Earth Science 50/51: Earth and Life through Time Proposal Syllabus
- Environmental and Earth Science 75/76: Wetlands Proposal Syllabus
- Environmental and Earth Science 92/93: Introduction to Environmental Science Proposal Syllabus
- Physics 1/2: Introduction to Physics Proposal Syllabus
- Physics 40/41: Revolutions in Science Proposal Syllabus Syllabus
- Physics 90/91: Introduction to Astronomy Proposal Syllabus Lab Syllabus
Questions? Contact the CCC