Q&A #1834

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Dimensional analysis of measurements in Metric system

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From: Ame Barrier <amebear@hotmail.com>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2006090317:30:29
Subject: Dimensional analysis

Beware: apparently some math teachers freak out when we are teaching
students this method of dimensional analysis to teach conversions.  I
don't really understand what the problem is because the method of
using fractions to teach the method covers so many different areas of
math and science together.  I was having a discussion with a math
teacher the other day and she was worried that students were getting
lost because we were using the fraction method to teach conversions. 
Then I was having a conversation with a physics teacher who did not
see that method of conversions as dimensional analysis.  My concern is
that we need to use a little bit looser language, even if it is not
completely correct, so that students can hang on and not freak out
between disciplines and even subjects within disciplines.

These are just some of my thoughts.  I will admit that I work with the
most at risk students and see things from that perspective.

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