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PUMAS (poo' • mas) -- is a collection of brief examples showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes can be used in interesting settings, including every day life.

The examples are written primarily by scientists, engineers, and other content experts having practical experience with the material. They are aimed mainly at classroom teachers, and are available to all interested parties via the PUMAS web site.

Our goal is to capture, for the benefit of pre-college education, the flavor of the vast experience that working scientists have with interesting and practical uses of math and science.

- Ralph Kahn
Pumas Editor and Founder

Featured PUMAS Example

Pilots, Airplanes, and the Tangent of Three (3) Degrees by Charles R. Moren
When approaching an airport, pilots must learn to maneuver their aircraft visually, so that a stabilized approach to the runway can be flown at a constant approach angle. Precise approach planning insures a smooth transition to a landing within the Touchdown Zone (1) of the runway. Pilots must sometimes execute visual approaches that are varied in size, shape, and angle based upon a variety of factors such as: other aircraft, obstructions, noise abatement, or prevailing weather conditions. The standard approach angle however, is 3°. This 3° angle is the standard approach angle integrated into Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) (2) and Visual Approach Slope Indicators (VASI) (3) installed at many airports. When flying a normal traffic pattern, the aircraft is maneuvered so that the final approach in intercepted at an altitude of 500 feet above the elevation of the airport (AFE) (4).
(view this example)

View the Examples

There are currently 84 examples in the PUMAS Collection.
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We are always looking for neat examples of Practical Uses of Math And Science.
Please contribute!