Solving Real Problems

Rick Spellerberg Visits Amps 004Dr. Rick Spellerberg from Simpson College visited the AMPS (Applied Mathematical Problem Solving) class to discuss research his Simpson students (including Academy Alumnus, Maggie Long) were conducting on the spread of the weed, palmer amaranth.  AMPS students got a taste of important applications of mathematical modeling as they worked the problem to develop a model that would measure the risk palmer amaranth poses to the farming industry in Iowa counties.

Palmer amaranth is a highly competitive weed that has been known to be herbicide resistant and has been causing challenges for the state’s agriculture industry.  Because the weed is competitive and difficult to differentiate from another, non-competitive weed in our state, there is a worry that farmers may not be aware of the problem until Palmer causes long-term damage.

This project could offer opportunities for mathematics students at Academy to learn and work first hand on a real problem facing Iowa’s main industry.

See pictures of Dr. Spellerberg’s visit at

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