This site provides an up-to-date snapshot on a select few applied mathematics research topics that the NSF is currently exploring and providing funding for. The topics follow a theme of "mathematics is deeply interwoven into all of modern life", and are divided into four main categories: assembling information into a big picture, managing and modeling complexity, deciding on the best choice, and pattern hunting and statistical learning. Each of these categories contains between three to five brief descriptions of areas of particular interest.
Type of Material:
Student enrichment, in particular to help students appreciate that mathematics is a dynamic subject with active research and real-life applications
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Identify Major Learning Goals:
To provide an overview of applied mathematical topics of current research interest.
Target Student Population:
High school and college math students
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
General knowledge of mathematics
The material is brief but informative. The interactive feature on Fractal Geometry and the Pythagorean Tree provides a nice visual introduction to that area of mathematics. The links to related Resources were useful and informative.
More extensive descriptions would have been desirable and perhaps some examples.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The materials are written primarily to provide an overview of current topics of interest. Links to some related Web sites and other resources are provided along with links to some classroom resources (although the classroom materials are unrelated to the material presented).
More extensive descriptions and examples would help students gain a better feel for what is involved in each topic area. The related resources are primarily directed at teachers rather than at students.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
With regard to exploring the topic categories, the site navigation was simple and direct; the Next links allowed the user to proceed easily from category to category. For the most part, navigation was simple and direct; warnings were provided prior to leaving the NSF site when navigating to materials with external URLs.
The links to Mathematics News and Mathematics Discoveries did not provide navigation back to the home page and use of the Back button was necessary.
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