I think Ive been talking about my four yar task with writing a combined ( hard back paper and e-based) beginning textbook of geology.
Ive found that, kids who take the program in becoming geologists are , in about 25% of the and almost half do below their academic (SAT projections) and they are often poorly educated in the needs of math that we demand. Consequently Ive been working with a on-staff professor of physics partner on "simplifying AND ENTERTAINIFYING" THE CONCEPTS OF DIFFERENTIL AND INTEGRAL CALCULUS, (from which ALL our understandings in radioisotopes, thermo,rock deformation, stress and strain, and heat flow, erosion patterns, magnetism and gravity) come from. Many schools require beginning text in phys geology called "The Earth"(Turner Verhoogen and Weiss). This text is a scary introduction to physical geology because it assumes a working knowledge of differential equations of higher orders, vector analyses, Integral solcving, expansions, and some pretty fancy statistics (like krigging and variogramming)GOING IN TO THE PROGRAM.
SO weve been working on a text that starts with the very basic explanations they used to use in introductory calc. We go WAAAY back when calculus was mostly used for carpentry, bridge building , and cannon firing, it was, back then, explained in waay less fancy and often abstract terms than "y is a (function) of pi times x"> Such "purely mathematical" explanations of introductory calculus hs scared away many really good students because their own cal introductions in H S were done by teachers who were themselves flummoxed.
Weve gone back to the basics that differential calculus has to do with the division of quantities into teeny parts and that integrl calculus has to do with the addition of these teeny parts into a desired quantity. Everything else is just
1what material we're working with
2 the many ways we do it.
My partner has been experimenting with several classes in chemistry, physics and geology where the students appeared to be confused (mostly with the terminology of the calculus and not what they are being asked to do). We are exposing them by using "talk" experiments like measuring mine areas or rock deformation , or the relationships between pressure and temperature .
Weve been detouring to this area and my text has taken a back seat.
I ultimately want to have a program on the math and calculus of rock deformation and geophysical concepts in an easily understandable format.
Weve found out that most kids dont do poorly based on a "fear of the science" but of an "Inability to pick up on the math".