Sunday, March 9, 2014

Workshop Exercise: Iceberg! Sizing Up Problems

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Problems, wise people say, are like icebergs. You see only their tips.

We often underestimate them until we realize how deep they are. By that time it may be too late to find the solutions, and the consequence is grave. Remember the tragedy of the unsinkable Titanic?

Here is an exercise to test how good you are in sizing up problems. Draw a profile (cross-section) of the ocean and put in proper places an iceberg and a ship. The iceberg is ten (10) times the size of your ship. You are the captain of this ship and you are steering its course. You are headed to the location of the iceberg. Show the comparative sizes of the iceberg and ship above and below the water.

While you are working on this exercise, play the sound track of the movie TitanicTheme from Paganini, by Rachmaninoff is another appropriate musical background.

There are five major criteria in this exercise:
  • Accuracy in the proportion of the iceberg and the ship.
  • Proportion of volume of iceberg submerge in water.
  • Water line of the ship in relation to the water level. (All ships are marked with water line to indicate their load and condition.)
  • Position and distance of the ship from the iceberg.
This exercise takes ten minutes. Exchange papers for correction. Class discussion follows.

It can also be a group work of four or five members. The teacher asks the group leader to present the result. Analysis follows.

This exercise tests the participant's knowledge in physics such as the law of buoyancy, and in geodetic science such as the features of the ship, other aspects of practical knowledge, and keenness of observation. This exercise applies as basis in self-analysis - a person's knowledge about himself, his thoughts, attitude and behavior. 

NOTE: If you are going to take the test, stop at this point, then continue after.

I gave a similar, but simpler exercise, to my students after they had watched Al Gore's , An Inconvenient Truth. This documentary demonstrated the melting of glaciers and the polar caps as a result of global warming. Ice shelves of the Arctic and Antarctic are breaking into massive icebergs which later melt down in the sea.

"Suppose an iceberg is a cube of ice you put in your drinking water," I said, emphasizing the procedure of the exercise, "how does the cube of ice look in the glass of water?" I watched them draw the profile on one-fourth bond paper.

Result: Not so many got the answer correct.

Why don't you try this exercise and request your teacher in science to check your work? If not read about iceberg. Or visit the Internet on the subject. ~

Iceberg near Newfoundland, Internet

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