High School Scholars Connect Math and Biology Using Biodiversity

A group of Tennessee high school students and teachers learned about how math and biology converge during a visit to NIMBioS last week as a part of the Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. The symposium is an annual event in which high school students present original research and compete for college scholarships. During their visit to NIMBioS, the students and their teachers learned about NIMBioS’ research and outreach goals and also took part in an activity that introduces an example of the interface of math and biology — how to derive and apply Simpson’s Index of Biodiversity. The 17 students and seven teachers were from Farragut High School (Knoxville), Pope John Paul II High School (Nashville), Oak Ridge High School (Oak Ridge), Webb School (Knoxville), White Station High School (Memphis), Cookeville High School (Cookeville), and Heritage High School (Maryville). The Simpson’s Index biodiversity lesson is publicly available here, as well as a more advanced module using real salamander data from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

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