There have been

*too**many instances where people in my engineering classes do NOT understand dimensional analysis or tables. Sure, you may**know**how to do these things, but you need to be AWESOME at these things. Some of you may not know what I'm talking about. So let's have an introduction:***Dimensional Analysis**

*Convert 12 miles to meters.*

*If you buy a sweater that is $24, but 35% off, how much is the sweater?*

*Most people don’t know how to do these problems, at least not easily.*

*Tips for the trade:***A dimension is a unit, which is**You can reduce the following: 5/5=1. Well you can also do the following: or .

*like a number.*

**Think about the unit actually represents.**Like area is just a two-dimensional length. Volume is three-dimensional length. Acceleration is the time derivative of speed which is the time derivative of length. Okay, sure that was a little confusing. But think about the

*bigger picture.*Here is a cool video to show you what I mean: Imagining the 10

^{th}Dimension.

**TABLES**

Now about half (yes ½) of my

*upper division thermodynamics class*was spent teaching us how to read tables. And*still*people failed that class. Sure, thermo goes beyond reading tables, but if you can’t read a table accurately, you are going to make silly mistakes on your tests. And tests are your*entire*grade!

*Tips for the trade:***Read lots of tables!**Like train tables! I love sitting down and just looking at all the different times and thinking of different possibilities. Another lame thing I like to do: read tables in the backs of textbooks.

*It comes with surprises!*For instance, I found the specific heat for chicken and cake in the back of my Heat Transfer book.

*Now, you can’t tell me THAT’s not interesting.*

**Use two pieces of paper to track your points.**Use one horizontally and the other vertically. It’ll also help so you don’t strain your eyes.

**Mark your point lightly with a pencil.**This has saved me

*many times.*Sometimes I’ll look back over the test and realize 1) my pencil point is in the wrong spot 2) I wrote down the number wrong. It honestly helps you.

*This whole blog post may seem like a "well, duh Serena." But I'm telling you! Even my supervisors at my internships have converted wrong!*

**Be awesome at conversions, and then you can worry about the real "engineering."**
SO TRUE! I cannot tell you how many times I've been in a chemistry class and the students don't know how to convert units.

ReplyDeleteUnit analysis has saved me so many times. I honestly think it should be a required separate class on its own. Even if I can't remember an equation, I rack up the partial credit by playing with the units and seeing how far I can get.

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