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Topic: developing formular interactively
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Posts: 133
Registered: 12/6/04
developing formular interactively
Posted: Jul 1, 1995 12:50 PM
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Rick wrote:

<<OK - Here is a specific example. Please see what your inclination is on this.
Would like to deal with formulas (of all types) at the high school level.
Where they come from, the effects of "tweaking" one of the variables, the
derivation of the units (e.g. BTUs), manipulation, et al. I am looking for a
context that might be interesting to students and would allow for this type
of analysis. One colleague suggested a heat-efficient house as a setting.
What do you think?>>>>>

The reply I sent to Rick follows. I hope it demonstrates how you can
get students involved in the discovery process without heavy emphasis on the
50 minute, minimal interaction lecture. Keep in mind as you read the example
that students will be coming back to the teacher often to ask questions
about where to get information such as electricity costs. Again the resources
of a group or the class could be used here instead of just telling students
to look at their electric bill. They might even communicate with a parent
to find some of the information needed.

Here is something similar to a heat efficient house but a little simpler.
Askyour students to see if they can determine how much money it costs them
(or their parents) to pay for a typical shower they take. I say typical
because it can takwe anywhere from 10 min to 2 days for my kids to finish
a shower. It is simpler than a energy efficient house because you start
with the definition of the heat capacity of water at 1 btu/lb.-F. They
will need to measure the amount of water in a specific unit of time, keep
track of the length of a shower and measure the normal water temperature
and shower temperature. They will also need to find out how much their
electricity costs and then convert to dollars spent.
I used to teach a solar design course before oil prices dropped back
in the 80's. The students were impressed with the simplicity of the
exercise and wioth the value of the results. Once they do this they will
appreciate the concept of heating a house and heat loss and converting
btu data into economic information.
They may even shower less time if they discuss the results with the


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