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Foundation Goals

Math and Natural Sciences

In 2011, the Math and Natural Sciences faculty began conversations regarding learning goals for the current Math and Natural Science Foundation. Through these conversations, it became apparent that our aspirations for Knox students were greater than the goals that could be encompassed by a single foundation in Math and Natural Science. Through a series of conversations, the decision to request that faculty approve a change in graduation requirements that would:

  1. Create a new foundation: Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning and
  2. Change the existing MNS foundation to Natural and Physical Sciences. This foundation would have its core the scientific method. The learning goals for the new foundations, approved by the Knox faculty to take effect in Fall of 2014, are below:

Learning Goals

Natural and Physical Sciences (Courses in this area lie in the physical or biological sciences that include an experimental component.) The goals of an NPS foundation course are:

  1. Students will be able to identify key concepts used in understanding the physical or biological world using a scientific discipline or framework.
  2. Students will be able to describe important theories in the physical or biological sciences and the empirical evidence upon which they are based.
  3. Students will be able to describe the application of the scientific method to questions using the following concepts: formulate and test a hypothesis, analyze data, draw conclusions.

Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (Courses in this area focus on methods of abstract or symbolic reasoning including mathematics, logic, algorithmic or statistical reasoning.) The goals of a QSR foundation course are:

  1. Students will be able to translate between real world concepts and quantitative or symbolic abstract structures.
  2. Students will be able to perform and interpret quantitative or symbolic manipulations in an abstract structure;
  3. Students will be able to construct carefully reasoned logical arguments.
  4. Students will be able to use abstract methods to analyze patterns and formulate conjectures with the goal of verifying them rigorously.