What does it take to be outstanding at mathematical modeling, and how does modeling relate to real world issues across disciplines of study? For 16 years, teams of high school students and college undergraduates have competed in the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications’ (COMAP’s) Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) to find out.
COMAP recently published a book about the contest edited by Drs. Chris Arney and Paul J. Campbell. Chris is an ICM director, United States Military Academy math professor, and advisory board member for the Engaging Mathematics initiative. In addition to co-editing the book, Chris also wrote a number of the book’s chapters. Paul is a mathematics professor at Beloit College.
The book, titled The Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling: Culturing Interdisciplinary Problem Solving, presents a history of the ICM, including descriptions of past problems, a list of outstanding teams, and commentary from participants, advisors, judges, and directors. Also included is advice on how to prepare a team for the contest and how to develop curricula on modeling, as well as discussions on the current state of interdisciplinary education. Wm. David Burns, the executive director of NCSCE and principal investigator for Engaging Mathematics, authored one of the book’s chapters on interdisciplinarity titled “‘Multidisciplinary Trouble’ and Learning: A SENCER Approach.”
In the book’s preface, Dr. Solomon Garfunkel, the executive director of COMAP and an Engaging Mathematics affiliate, writes:
All of us who do this work [of the ICM] appreciate mathematics for its beauty. But all of us also appreciate the power of mathematics to help us understand and deal with the complexities of our world. We are educators and we want our students to see knowledge not compartmentalized into a discrete set of disciplines, but with all of its interconnections.
For more information on the book, including instructions about how to purchase it, click here. Click here to register for the 2015 ICM.
Photo credit: Tom Brown