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
Square Roots Using a Carpenter's Square by Paul Broome
As demonstrated in a PUMAS example from Lin H Chambers, "How Now, Pythagoras", master carpenters regularly make practical use of geometry and, at times, the Pythagorean theorem in their craft. I found this out some time ago when a good friend told me how an old-time carpenter he worked with calculated square roots using a carpenter's square. This carpenter performed his craft long before calculators arrived on the scene and, I'm sure, applied this method to numerous applications where he needed to ensure square corners or needed the length of a diagonal prior to cutting materials for construction. Being a mechanical engineering student at the time I learned this method, I was impressed by the elegant simplicity of it. I'm still impressed.
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We are always looking for neat examples of Practical Uses of Math And Science.