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Applied Algebra With Laboratory Experimentation

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.103.1 - 3.103.4



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Paper Authors

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Eric Leung

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Cathy Godbois

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Richard Ciocci

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2265

Applied Algebra with Laboratory Experimentation

Richard Ciocci, Cathy Godbois, Eric Leung Harrisburg Area Community College

This paper describes a work in progress. Students in a variety of majors at the community college-level are required to take at least two courses in math and science. Often these students elect to take college algebra, which neither prepares them for a data-oriented environment in the workplace nor exposes them to scientific methodology. These students need an interdisciplinary course or a course with an interdisciplinary focus, which gives them these necessary skills. The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded an Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement Leadership in Laboratory Development Grant, 96-51137, to three faculty members at Harrisburg Area Community College to develop a text, lab manual, and course to meet this need. This paper discusses the methodology behind the text, manual, and course and gives examples of the lab experiments to be used.


Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) recognizes that scientific and technological literacy is crucial to meet the needs of our graduates as they enter the workforce. However, many undergraduates at HACC and at other colleges or universities can complete degree requirements without ever taking courses that will help them acquire this literacy. One reason this occurs is that in associate-degree career and transfer programs that are not technological in nature, students are required to take at most two courses in mathematics and the sciences. Approximately one- half of all students in a degree program at HACC are part of this population. These students often graduate without developing scientific and technological literacy.

The National Science Foundation NSF awarded an Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement Grant to three faculty members from the Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Division at HACC. The grant, awarded under the NSF's Leadership in Laboratory Development program, was made for the investigators to develop a text and a laboratory manual for an interdisciplinary and applied alternative to college-level algebra. The curricular materials described herein are written so that the students can investigate basic science laws and develop models for observed real-world phenomena using scientific methodology and data analysis on the data they have collected. The materials developed include experiments and simulations from a variety of disciplines, which the students will conduct. Students, working collaboratively, will use scientific methodology to gather data, develop data analysis and modeling methods to introduce functions, and present the functions, numerically, graphically, symbolically, and verbally.

Project Status

The text and lab manual exist in class test form and significant portions of each have been class tested. A local high school has class-tested the text in its college algebra course. A series of the experiments was tested by a team of high school students at a summer institute at HACC. The

Leung, E., & Godbois, C., & Ciocci, R. (1998, June), Applied Algebra With Laboratory Experimentation Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--6921

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