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Re: [Phys-l] Fun/cool unit conversion example?

While it is only about 30 earth diameters, in scale, that really is a long
way. What I do first day is to bring in a globe (about a foot in diameter)
and a second ball that is roughly the size of the moon--relative to the
globe. I ask the students to raise their hands when I've moved the ball to
a distance that is approximately in scale for where the moon is. Not
surprisingly they start raising their hands when I'm three feet away and by
the time I'm 10-12 feet away, all the hands are up. I keep going until I'm
thirty feet away (sometimes I place the globe so I have to go out the door
into the hall. When you view this IN SCALE, 3 dimensionally, it becomes
more amazing that we sent men to the moon and landed them a few kilometers
from the nominal target--all 40 years ago!


[A new piece of software is available that mimics the old Environment and
Energy Simulator (DOE and Montana State)--multiple control panels to divide
up student input. Go to ]
From: "Jeffrey Schnick" <JSchnick@Anselm.Edu>
Sent: Monday, January 18, 2010 4:21 PM
To: "Forum for Physics Educators" <>
Subject: Re: [Phys-l] Fun/cool unit conversion example?

How many earth-diameters is it from here to the moon? I was surprised
at how few it is.

-----Original Message-----
From: [mailto:phys-l-] On Behalf Of Jeff Loats
Sent: Monday, January 18, 2010 4:17 PM
To: Forum for Physics Educators
Subject: [Phys-l] Fun/cool unit conversion example?

Hi all,

On the first day of class I do a brief example to illustrate unit
(snore) and I usually spice it up by making it very silly (such as
measured in gigaslugs per parsec cubed).

I thought I would ask here to see if anyone had a neat unit conversion
example that left you with a sense of "huh, I didn't know that" or
"that was
cool!" or something similar.


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Forum for Physics Educators