Thursday, March 10, 2016

mathematical modeling guide and contest for high schoolers

If I ever teach research methods to the right audience I will absolutely assign a class project similar to this fantastic contest for high school juniors and seniors. The goal is to build a mathematical model to answer some open ended real world question, like what recycling system should a city adopt. Bright STEM-focused high schoolers should be jumping all over this.

Mathematical modeling is really hard to teach, since it's so resistant to recipification. Experience and reading/questioning other models is the best way to grok the fuzzy metrics of model quality. Nonetheless, this contest comes with a great handbook that is a better guide than anything else I've seen (and I looked around quite a bit while teaching research methods to masters students a year ago). Check it out.