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
Teaching Atomic Structure Using Cooperative Learning by Kathleen Wawers
Cooperative Learning is a teaching pedagogy that is great to use, but often challenging to implement. In a high school general chemistry classroom (non-honors level), the range of math abilities across the student population often means that some students catch on quickly to the algebra-based concepts. Other students struggle with very basic algebra. The beauty of using Cooperative Learning is that the science teacher can use the higher ability students as another resource for the students that need to have concepts reinforced. In this atomic structure lesson, cooperative learning is used to teach the concepts of atomic number, mass number, isotope, and nuclear atom. Each learning group is created with the strengths (and weaknesses) of the students in mind. The students with a higher ability are challenged to help explain the atomic structure concepts to their peers. The students of a lower ability aren’t left “off the hook”. They are still responsible to teach their peers one of the atomic structure concepts, however, they are given a concept that is more clearly defined.
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We are always looking for neat examples of Practical Uses of Math And Science.