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
Water Bottles, Root Beer, and Air by Loren White
The common plastic water bottle makes a useful container for demonstrating properties of gases and liquids. As typical examples, we know that “air” is a gas (made up of nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, ozone, carbon dioxide, and several “trace” gases) and water is a liquid. We should also note that gases and liquids are both “fluids”. That is, they can flow or change shape, rather than having a fixed shape like a solid. So what happens when a water bottle is opened? Usually not much. What about with a bottle or can of shaken root beer though? In that case you’re likely to get a messy explosion! The reasons are related to the properties of gases and liquids, especially as expressed through pressure and density.
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We are always looking for neat examples of Practical Uses of Math And Science.