In a cooking mag: a 9×2 round pan holds the same as an 8×2 square pan. True? Test with math? Test with water? pic.twitter.com/LDfDheoQyZ
— Marilyn Burns (@mburnsmath) March 30, 2016
On Twitter, I remarked that Marilyn had summarized the entire modeling cycle in a single tweet. But the part of that cycle she summarizes best is the last: validating your answer.
With mathematical modeling, you don’t have to be the answer key. The world is.
If you have total faith in the perfect accuracy of your mathematical models, testing with water may sound unnecessary. For the 99% of your students who wonder if math has any power outside of their textbooks, test with water.
It was one thing to manually figure that out [if some glue could hold up a human], and then another to try the same thing with a bowling ball experiment modeling the same thing. We were able to see if our answer actually held up in that situation, it was a moment that will stay with me forever.