PUMAS logo

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

Featured PUMAS Example

Sand or Rock? Finding Out from 1,000 km by Stephen J. Edberg
This activity quantifies an experience many students have had visiting a beach, or even playing in a sandbox. A summer afternoon walk, barefoot, across sand can burn one’s feet. Often people take a few steps and then bury their feet in the cooler subsurface sand as they make their way across the beach. After sunset, the surface sand cools rapidly and buried feet are warmed by the deeper sand that has not cooled off yet. Stopping to rest on an empty fire ring, the beach walker notices how warm the concrete ring is long after the Sun has gone down. Students explore these effects using laboratory thermometers, and can use an IR thermometer if one is available.
(view this example)

View the Examples

There are currently 85 examples in the PUMAS Collection.
nav arrowView the full listing, organized by Example title.

We are always looking for neat examples of Practical Uses of Math And Science.
Please contribute!