Lesson: Dimensional Analysis

Leslie Gushwa Emss Santa Cruz, CA
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Lesson Objective

It is new to many students, but dimensional analysis is very simple arithmetic. Students need to practice this a bit and then it comes fairly easily. The trick is to have the units you start with AND the units you end with on top of the divisor lines. Then put in as many "forms" of 1 as you need so that everything crosses out EXCEPT the final units. Since all the conversion factors are equal to 1 you can arrange whichever unit you wish to be above the line and whatever units you wish below the line. For example 1000 mL/1 L OR 1 L/ 1000mL BOTH equal 1 !!

Lesson Plan

I have included a pathways sheet for students to keep in their notebooks or you to post on desktops or a very large version in the front of the room.  It is labeled "Dimensional Analysis Sheet".  Once student get used to these types of problems the sheet really helps them to be sucessful.  There are also a few constants on the sheet for reference.

There is a "Farmers" dimensional analysis page of word problems for practice as well as a more traditional word problems set.

Lesson Resources

Dimensional Analysis Problem Set.docx  
Dimensional Analysis_Farmer.docx  
Dimensional Analysis Sheet.pdf  


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