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Using the simple example of calculating the probability of reaching a traffic light while green, students are shown how to build a mathematical model using a very commonly-taught formula (sum of first n integers) to solve a rather practical problem.... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free per student

In this experiential activity, students demonstrate to themselves the effect of the optic disc, or blind spot, inherent to the optic nerve entering the posterior of the eye (bulbus oculi). This resource is from PUMAS - Practical Uses of Math and... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free per student

This resource explains how to estimate the global consequence of a person's actions to quantify what it is to "think globally." To lend meaning to the result, it introduces "order-of-magnitude" thinking. Three examples, on the global impact of a... (View More)

Scientists use estimates as a check on more precise measurements; estimation is an easy way to quantify early hypotheses that can be tested or checked later in formal analysis. This article describes a number of examples of the use of estimating the... (View More)

In the state of Maryland, a local politician once claimed that sea level is rising because there are too many people putting boats on the open ocean. Could that result in a significant sea level rise, perhaps even destroy low-lying nations such as... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free per student

This excercise uses "the birthday problem," a well-known probability riddle with a surprising result. It serves as a calculator exercise for students and beginning computer programmers. This resource is from PUMAS - Practical Uses of Math and... (View More)

This exercise shows a practical application of trigonometry in the aviation environment, where student pilots consider the relationship between altitude and distance to complete a landing. It requires a scientific calculator. This resource is from... (View More)

This simple example shows how algebra can be useful in the real world by exploring the question: Should Grandpa start receiving his Social Security benefits at age 62 or should he wait until age 65? This resource is from PUMAS - Practical Uses of... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free per student

Computer modeling is used to estimate physical quantities that are difficult to measure, in this case, the landing shock experienced by ski jumpers. The model uses physical quantities such as the takeoff inclination, takeoff height, the shape of the... (View More)

Keywords: Numerical model
Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free per student

This resource describes the slide rule as an analog computer, and uses the slide rule to demonstrate the concept of isomorphism, which is one of the most pervasive and important concepts in mathematics. This resource is from PUMAS - Practical Uses... (View More)