BI0MF1-Mathematics Foundation

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lindsey Thompson


Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module will provide students with the basic mathematical knowledge and skills required for a successful transition to degrees related to Chemical and Biological Sciences. Lectures will provide a broad base of fundamental mathematical tools and techniques and practical work will give hands-on experience of application.


Students will be given the opportunity to develop competence a range of algebraic, graphical, numerical and statistical techniques to support further scientific study. Lectures will provide an opportunity for students to refresh fundamental mathematical concepts. Associated practical/tutorial sessions will allow them to apply their mathematical knowledge to scientific calculations, experimental design, data collection and analysis. Further lectures will provide examples of how mathematics can be used to describe and analyse more complex scientific relationships.

Further aims include:

  • To provide an opportunity to develop problem solving skills.

  • To provide an illustration of the link between mathematics experimentation and scientific understanding.

  • To provide students with experience in scientific laboratory report writing and interpretation of simple statistical tests.

  • To provide students with a deeper understanding of biological relations.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • Understand the meaning of the SI unit

  • Be familiar with a range of fundamental Chemical and Biological Units.

  • rearrange equations

  • Calculate concentrations and dilutions.

  • Present data in an appropriate format in terms of graphs and tables.

  • Find gradients and equations representing a straight line.

  • Use the equation representing a straight line and apply to biological and chemical concepts.

  • Calculate logs and use the log plot to determine more complex relationships.

  • Use logs to describe exponential growth and decay, calculate half-time.

  • Recognise the shape of standard graphs, sin, cos, tan.

  • Finding the gradient of a curve using tangents.

  • Understand the importance of experimental design.

  • Present data in a format appropriate for analysis.

  • Be able to calculate standard error, % uncertainty, % difference, standard deviation

  • Recognise Normal and non-parametric data.

  • Select and use basic statistical tests.

Additional outcomes:

Students should obtain an understanding of the application of mathematical concepts, they will gain practical experience of experimental design and analysis and will have the opportunity to work as part of a team.

Outline content:

This module will provide a fundamental understanding of the role of basic mathematics in Biological and Chemical sciences. Basic key mathematical ideas and skills will be considered and related specifically to Biological and Chemical concepts. The module will also consider the role of basic statistics in experimental design, analysis and evaluation.

Students will engage in a series of lectures, tutorials and practicals that will provide a basic level of mathematical and statistical competence that will relate to subsequent modules. There will be approximately 40 hours of practicals with calculation, analysis, writing and planning sessions provided throughout the course to support training of students in these areas.

The Lecture Content covers:

  • SI units, standard form, manipulating numbers in standard form, using prefixes

  • Basic calculations such as volume and area, manipulating equations. The Mole, concentrations and dilutions.

  • Presenting data, tables and graphs.

  • Directly proportional and proportional relationships. The straight line graph and application to spectrophotometry.

  • Using logs to describe exponential growth and decay. Calculating the half- time. Common graphs sin, cos, tan.

  • Introduction to statistics % uncertainty standard errors, standard deviation, combining uncertainty.

  • Experimental design and statistical tests.

  • Using ‘Minitab’ to analyse experimental data.

The Practical Content covers:

  • Calculation workshops

  • Dilution series

  • Using spectroscopy investigate the equation for a straight line.

  • Measuring exponential growth and decay.

  • Tuition/guidance for experimental design, analysis and write-ups


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

There will be two ~50 minute lectures (divided by a short break) each week. Students will spend ~3 hours in the laboratory each week, this will be a mixture of performing experiments, as well as calculations and analysis sessions to support students prior to assessment. There will be a one hour clinic each week where students will be encouraged to meet in a tutorial setting to discuss progress.

Additionally, students will be expected to use their free time to engage in background reading.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 16
Tutorials 8
Practicals classes and workshops 24
Guided independent study 152
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Set exercise 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One and a half hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Formative feedback will be given in drop-in clinic sessions and tutorials

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examinatioin in the August resit period

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 11 December 2018


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