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
The Moon Orbits the Sun?!?! by Stephen J. Edberg
Even the most casual observers note the changes in the phase of the Moon as it goes from crescent to half to full and back again with a “monthly” cycle. (See Glenn Simonelli’s PUMAS submission “Modeling the motions of the Earth, Sun and Moon” [PUMAS Example 03_10_04_1].) Their observations, or what is “common knowledge”, lead them to believe the Moon does loops around the Earth. But is this true? A comparison of the gravitational forces of the Sun and Earth on the Moon hints at the answer to this question and a simple demonstration refutes the loop-view.
(view this example)
We are always looking for neat examples of Practical Uses of Math And Science.