[FoRK] Computational thinking and energy literacy
wgstoddard at gmail.com
Mon Dec 21 06:22:13 PST 2009
On 12/21/09 8:49 AM, Jeff Bone wrote:
> Udell occasionally impresses. Take this one:
> Right on.
> Personally, I think Fermi estimation and related techniques need to be
> taught right alongside *counting* --- starting in preschool. And
> continued aggressively throughout a child's mathematical education.
> Nothing grounds new knowledge like the ability (and encouragement) to
> apply it to everyday life.
> Re: tools: of course, Mathematica (Alpha or otherwise) isn't the
> only game on the block. Google will do some of this for you, though
> not enough yet. (Prediction: in the '10s Google will either build
> and make available or buy and open-source + host / extend a full
> symbolic computational math product of some sort, along with beefing
> itself up on the "computational knowledge engine" front as Alpha
> matures and demonstrates what's possible.) But there's a long history
> of such things, and new tools appearing all the time... Most folks
> have forgotten all about the traditional UNIX "units" tool and
> friends. Frink has always impressed me, even though it's
> closed-source (open it up, Alan! It's been years. It's time. Get
> that bazaar factor going...) Fortress gets it. Etc., etc...
> Having dimensioned quantities and dimensional analysis built into a
> language is a powerful idea. Using a language with dimensional
> analysis built in --- just as a kind of adjunct to reasoning about
> real-world things --- is, as Udell demonstrates, a pretty powerful way
> of thinking.
> More like this!
Yes! Complete agree. Teaching my kids dimensional analysis and 'back
of the envelope estimation'.
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