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The Art of Approximation in Science and Engineering: How to Whip Out Answers Quickly
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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The purpose of this learning video is to show students how to think more freely about math and science problems. Sometimes getting an approximate answer in a much shorter period of time is well worth the time saved. This video explores techniques for making quick, back-of-the-envelope approximations that are not only surprisingly accurate, but are also illuminating for building intuition in understanding science. This video touches upon 10th-grade level Algebra I and first-year high school physics, but the concepts covered (velocity, distance, mass, etc) are basic enough that science-oriented younger students would understand. If desired, teachers may bring in pendula of various lengths, weights to hang, and a stopwatch to measure period. Examples of in- class exercises for between the video segments include: asking students to estimate 29 x 31 without a calculator or paper and pencil; and asking students how close they can get to a black hole without getting sucked in.

Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
MIT
Provider Set:
MIT Blossoms
Author:
Stephen M. Hou
Date Added:
06/02/2015
The Art of Approximation in Science and Engineering: How to Whip Out Answers Quickly
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
Rating

The purpose of this learning video is to show students how to think more freely about math and science problems. Sometimes getting an approximate answer in a much shorter period of time is well worth the time saved. This video explores techniques for making quick, back-of-the-envelope approximations that are not only surprisingly accurate, but are also illuminating for building intuition in understanding science. This video touches upon 10th-grade level Algebra I and first-year high school physics, but the concepts covered (velocity, distance, mass, etc) are basic enough that science-oriented younger students would understand. If desired, teachers may bring in pendula of various lengths, weights to hang, and a stopwatch to measure period. Examples of in- class exercises for between the video segments include: asking students to estimate 29 x 31 without a calculator or paper and pencil; and asking students how close they can get to a black hole without getting sucked in.

Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
MIT Learning International Networks Consortium
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Stephen M. Hou
Date Added:
06/02/2012
Estimating Length Using Scientific Notation
Only Sharing Permitted
CC BY-NC-ND
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This lesson unit is intended to help teachers assess how well students are able to: estimate lengths of everyday objects; convert between decimal and scientific notation; and make comparisons of the size of numbers expressed in both decimal and scientific notation.

Material Type:
Assessment
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Shell Center for Mathematical Education
U.C. Berkeley
Provider Set:
Mathematics Assessment Project (MAP)
Date Added:
04/26/2013
Estimations and Approximations: The Money Munchers
Only Sharing Permitted
CC BY-NC-ND
Rating

This lesson unit is intended to help you assess how well students are able to: Model a situation; make sensible, realistic assumptions and estimates; and use assumptions and estimates to create a chain of reasoning, in order to solve a practical problem.

Material Type:
Assessment
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Shell Center for Mathematical Education
U.C. Berkeley
Provider Set:
Mathematics Assessment Project (MAP)
Date Added:
04/26/2013
Stride Ruler
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
Rating

In this activity, learners use their feet to estimate distances. Learners calculate the distance of one step in centimeters by measuring 10 steps at a time to reduce measurement error. Learners can use their stride ruler to measure the distance between different points on the playground as an extension activity.

Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Don Rathjen
Exploratorium
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
Date Added:
10/31/2010