Project History


This sourcebook and entire project are dedicated to those public school mathematics teachers who take that extra minute to answer a question and to encourage any student who mistakenly thinks "I cannot do math."


In the summer of 1998, two investigators from Volunteer State Community College began a three part project sponsored by a grant from Education Edge. The phases of this endeavor were as follows:

  1. Visitation with business and industries in the four county Areas of Macon, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale.

    The purpose of these visitations was to gather information about the types of mathematics skills used to manufacture the products and provide the services offered by these organizations. The investigators conducted video interviews with human resource directors as well as other personnel at each location. The investigators also shot additional video of certain business and industrial activities at each site. The investigators will make the video and this document available to teachers and other interested parties.

  2. The improvement of the existing technical mathematics course now offered at Volunteer State Community College.

    Currently, Volunteer State Community College offers a technical mathematics course as a requirement for degrees in a wide range of programs. As a result of the above mentioned visitations, the mathematics department now offers a more improved course entitled "Mathematics for Industrial Technology." This sourcebook contains a detailed outline of this course including the syllabus.

  3. The dissemination of information to teachers in Macon, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale counties concerning the mathematics usage and skills found in business, manufacturing, and health care settings.

    In the fall of 1998, the investigators conducted discussions with teachers throughout the four county areas of Macon, Smith, Sumner, and Trousdale. The purpose of these meetings was to provide the teachers and their students with a written, visual, and anecdotal record of the findings of the investigators. This document is part of that record. The investigators hope that this project will leave machinery in place to improve the communication among secondary teachers, post-secondary teachers, and those in the work sector. The investigators do not wish information to flow in only one direction. To that end, Volunteer State Community College has established a website where everyone interested in excellent mathematics training at all levels can express themselves on the subject. The address is www.vscc.cc.tn.us/msee/eduedge.htm.

In this sourcebook the investigators have begun a section of application problems suggested by the first hand interaction with those on the front lines of business and industry. We have deliberately not included an answer key. Teachers, students, and anyone in the world of work are all encouraged to send in to the web address above any solutions, comments, classroom and work experiences relating to mathematics, and above all, new problems. This document is only a beginning. The investigators wish that it never has an end as long as there are people who are interested in education of future workers.


The authors wish to acknowledge the following individuals and businesses who allowed us to come into their workplace, get in their way, and ask them a lot of "dumb" questions. The investigators apologize in advance for any omissions from the following list as well as any errors that are contained herein. The content of this sourcebook is solely the responsibility of the authors. We welcome your comments and discussion.

  • Beverly Baum, Human Resource Director, Insteel Wire Products
  • Eddie Steen, Insteel Wire Products
  • David Richardson, Insteel Wire Products
  • Jerry Ford, Insteel Wire Products
  • Jamie Puckett, Insteel Wire Products
  • Rick Suiter, Insteel Wire Products
  • Bill Carter, Insteel Wire Products
  • Al Frillman, Mueller Refrigeration Products
  • Steve Crouch, Mueller Refrigeration Products
  • Una Sircy, Mueller Refrigeration Products
  • Mike Kingery, Mueller Refrigeration Products
  • Charlie McClellan, Mueller Refrigeration Products
  • Mindi Lancaster, R.R. Donnelly and Sons Company
  • Ray Ball, R.R. Donnelly and Sons Company
  • Bob Evans, R.R. Donnelly and Sons Company
  • Bill Weaver, R.R. Donnelly and Sons Company
  • John Crampton Jr., R.R. Donnelly and Sons Company
  • David Kist, California Industrial Products
  • Greg Barrass, Rogers Group
  • Matthew Baltz, Rogers Group
  • Dale Cathey, Rogers Group
  • Willy Spears, Frank T. Rutherford Memorial Hospital Inc.
  • Tiffany Lancaster, Frank T. Rutherford Memorial Hospital Inc.
  • Amanda Holliman, Frank T. Rutherford Memorial Hospital Inc.
  • Cindy Goolsby, Frank T. Rutherford Memorial Hospital Inc.
  • Christy Hall, Frank T. Rutherford Memorial Hospital Inc.
  • Darren Christian, American Greeting Corp.
  • Edwin V. Kershaw, Meritor Light Vehicle Systems, Inc.

The authors would like to further acknowledge, with special thanks, the following people at Volunteer State Community College:

  • Charles L. Lea, Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs
  • James G. Hiett Jr., Assistant Vice President, Dean and Associate Professor of Psychology
  • P. Thomas Miller, Dean of Mathematics and Science, Professor of Chemistry
  • J. Richard Harville, Chairman, Departments of Mathematics and Engineering, Professor of Mathematics