Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in

BLOSSOMS - The Art of Approximation in Science and Engineering: How to Whip Out Answers Quickly (Arabic Subtitles)

Video Summary: The purpose of this learning video is to show students how to think more freely about math and science problems. The lesson presents some concepts in ways that students might not have seen in school. In particular, scientific calculations can be tedious and long. Many textbooks and teachers emphasize getting exactly the right answer. But sometimes getting an approximate answer in a much shorter period of time is well worth the time saved. This video explores techniques for making quick, back-of-the-envelope approximations that are not only surprisingly accurate, but are also illuminating for building intuition in understanding science. This video touches upon 10th-grade level Algebra I and first-year high school physics, but the concepts covered (velocity, distance, mass, etc) are basic enough that science-oriented younger students would understand. One class period is needed to complete the lesson and required materials include a blackboard and chalk. If desired, teachers may bring in pendula of various lengths, weights to hang, and a stopwatch to measure period. Examples of in- class exercises for between the video segments include: asking students to estimate 29 x 31 without a calculator or paper and pencil; and asking students how close they can get to a black hole without getting sucked in.

Comments (7)

Section 1

Posted almost 6 years by blossomsvideos 00:00:20

Section 2

Posted almost 6 years by blossomsvideos 00:01:37

Section 3

Posted almost 6 years by blossomsvideos 00:05:16

Section 4

Posted almost 6 years by blossomsvideos 00:12:26

Section 5

Posted almost 6 years by blossomsvideos 00:19:30

Section 6

Posted almost 6 years by blossomsvideos 00:24:27

Teacher Guide

Posted almost 6 years by blossomsvideos 00:28:54

You need to log in, in order to post comments.

March 12, 2010 11:31
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files

8353 times

More from Blended Learning Open Source Science or Math Studies (BLOSSOMS)

BLOSSOMS - Selfish Drivers: Braess’s Paradox and Traffic Planning

BLOSSOMS - Selfish Drivers: Braess’...

Added almost 5 years ago | 00:27:04 | 4624 views

Ecological Tipping Points (Spanish Subtitles)

Ecological Tipping Points (Spanish ...

Added 9 months ago | 00:28:15 | 491 views

The Ecological Cost of Dinner

The Ecological Cost of Dinner

Added almost 2 years ago | 00:23:35 | 945 views |

The Physics of Pool (Portuguese Subtitles)

The Physics of Pool (Portuguese Sub...

Added over 1 year ago | 00:24:37 | 592 views

BLOSSOMS - Taking Walks, Delivering Mail: An Introduction to Graph Theory with Karima Nigmatulina

BLOSSOMS - Taking Walks, Delivering...

Added over 7 years ago | 00:55:25 | 29752 views

BLOSSOMS - Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Portuguese Subtitles)

BLOSSOMS - Engineering Innovation a...

Added almost 4 years ago | 00:34:04 | 1633 views