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Laboratory Math

Author(s): Andrea R. Beyer1, Pamela Lucas Connerly2, Christy Fillman3, Nick T. Peters4

1. Virginia State University 2. Indiana University Southeast 3. University of Colorado, Boulder 4. Iowa State University

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Explanations and demonstrations on how to use mathematical equations for various laboratory purposes, including those specific to SEA-PHAGES (such as phage titer calculations) and those that are used universally in most scientific settings.


After completing the modules in the Laboratory Math resource, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate proper use of scientific notation and metric conversion in basic laboratory math problems.
  2. Identify and use equations to calculate the amounts of materials needed to make solutions and dilutions.
  3. Use dilutions and equations to calculate phage titers/plaque-forming units (pfu) per mL.


How is the resource structured to promote student development as a scientist? 

Self-efficacy- This module will build student’s confidence in completing universal basic laboratory math calculations that can be applied to SEA-PHAGES and other science courses.

Science identity- Once students can understand and complete the required laboratory math, they are more likely to self-identify as being able to do the work of a scientist.

Scientific community values- Understanding the laboratory math modules will allow students to apply and appreciate the translational nature of math across scientific disciplines.


Intended Teaching Setting

Course level:  any level of undergraduate student who has completed a basic mathematics course

Instructional Setting:  in-person classroom or online

Implementation Time Frame:  estimated up to one hour per module (4 modules total)


Acknowledgments:  Original creator of the SEA-PHAGES math packet, Denise Monti (SEA-PHAGES forums 07/21/17)

Additional acknowledgements are listed in the individual documents.


Project Documents

Facilitator document: Lab Math Instructor Guide

Learning activity document(s):  

1 Student Guide Lab Math Basics

2 Student Guide Solutions

3 Student Guide Serial Dilutions

4 Student Guide Phage Titer Calculations

1 Additional Resources Lab Math Basics

2 Additional Resources Solutions

3 Additional Resources Serial Dilutions

4 Additional Resources Phage Titer Calculations

Assessment document(s): 

1 Student Guide Lab Math Basics

2 Student Guide Solutions

3 Student Guide Serial Dilutions

4 Student Guide Phage Titer Calculations

1 Question Bank Lab Math Basics

2 Question Bank Solutions

3 Question Bank Serial Dilutions

4 Question Bank Phage Titer Calculations


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