In MMG 302 students are required to use basic mathematics to go through both dilutions of bacteria and solutions throughout the semester. Much to my chagrin, this proves to be a difficult task. Most students merely memorize the formulas provided and never take the time to understand the steps (I assume this is a common problem in math courses everywhere).
I had first created and used this worksheet while teaching BS 171 and I altered and applied it to the materials within this class. I sent it out to the students class-wide and those who took the time to go through it said it helped them a lot. After going through my teaching class (ISE 870) I learned why this worksheet is so effective. I did not rely on a single formulaic example, and by ‘mixing it up’ the students are forced to understand the concepts instead of merely the way to solve a single problem.
In addition I sent out an “answer key” containing not only the answers to the problems but the method(s) by which I solved them. I assumed that this would help the students more than simply providing the answers. Thus, if their answer was wrong they could go through the steps I provided and see where there mistake lies.
I have included the worksheet below.
Closing question: Does anyone have any suggestions on alternative questions that would help them open their minds and truly understand what’s going on?