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Some Physics for High School Math Students, by James F. Langan


Guide Entry to 90.07.08:

The unit discusses some physics: the lever, density, buoyancy, the continuity equation, dynamic similarity, the difference between units and dimensions, the Reynolds number, the Froude number, and the Mach number. Some history of model testing, of towing tanks, of “The Great Eastern,” of “Turbinia” and cavitation is touched on. The unit is an opportunity for students to see uses of mathematics by reading about engineering projects and their solutions.

I see this unit as something the student can read as a start to reading about engineering projects, naval architecture, and marine science. I hope the unit raises questions the student wants to answer by doing some research. Such questions as what did the ships look like? . . . the scientists?

I will use this material when we discuss variation in Algebra II. This unit itself mentions direct and inverse proportion. The naval architecture readings give examples of variation when they discuss laws of mechanical similitude, such as the wetted surface varies as the square of the length on the water line does. The unit uses exponents when it does dimensional analysis. Setting the Reynolds and Froude numbers equal to each other results in an equation having factional exponents.

(Recommended for Algebra II, grade 11 and college preparatory)

Key Words

Physics Mathematics Connecticut Parks Marine Science Matter Conservation

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