Re: Use a slide rule!!! Message #18 Posted by Chuck on 21 Nov 2008, 7:29 p.m., in response to message #17 by Namir
Last week I took my 7foot Pickett instructor slide rule into my Precalc class and discussed the 380 year history of it, it's eventual demise due to the HP35 in 1972, and several types of calculations. I first showed the students how to add numbers using meter sticks as the the foundation of slipsticks; then proceded on to how multiplication works, and then on to exponential expressions (we had just finished the chapter on logarithms.) They finally realized what the loglog of a number was useful for.
We also had a good discussion about the N600 (which I took to class) that went to the moon, and the part of the movie "Apollo 13" that shows the brainiacs at the space center feverishly calculating with the slide rule.
Several students stopped by my office to see the slide rules again. I need to try and find a cheap set of about 30 slide rules to give them some actual handson mathhistory practice next time.
They were most impressed about the need to estimate the magnitude of the results, ie., is the answer 0.0000354, 3.54, or 35400000? Estimation skills are something that is truely lacking in today's students (I think due to the rampant use of calculators.)
Anyway, knowing how a slide rule works is not a bad thing.
