Welcome to IMOP!
This course is intended for science learners who would benefit from a math review before walking into their physics or chemistry courses.
The challenge to science teachers is that their learners often believe that "math" uses one set measurements (pound, foot, gallon), and "science" uses another one altogether (metric). In addition to the perceived difference in units, many learners suppose the rules employed in solving math problems are distinct from those solving science ones. While most science disciplines do express measurements and calculations in metric units, the actual math skills used in math class are exactly the same as those used in science.
One particular challenge is manipulations with units. When setting up unit conversion problems, students often fail to see how units cancel each other out. As an example, If converting from 13.5 ounces to kilograms, students may know which conversion factors to use (16 ounces = 1 pound; 1 pound = 0.454 kilogram), but they do not grasp how to set these up in a calculation that results in proper unit cancellation. They may attempt the solution as follows:
Note that the problem set up this way yields a large product (475) and an awkward unit (ounces squared/ kg). If, however, students grasped that units are merely treated as numbers, and subject to unit cancellation, they would judiciously write the problem as:
The problem set up this way yields a reasonable product (0.383) and proper unit (kg).
Keep in mind that unit cancellation is merely an application of the rules you would have learned about cancelling numbers whenever you were taught fractions. Unit cancellation is not a special rule that applies only to calculations performed in science classes.
Words of encouragement
Many students feel a sense of intimidation when entering a physics and chemistry course for the first time. The biggest struggle seems to be the inability to recognize that the math skills they worked so hard to achieve in their math classes really do apply to these advanced science courses. It is my hope after you go through the six modules in this course that you will not only get a bit of a math refresher, but also make the connection between two seemingly disparate disciplines.
Rest assured, if you have completed Algebra I and are either concurrently enrolled or have already taken Algebra II, you have more than the math skills necessary to do very well in any algebra-based physics or chemistry class - your biggest challenge is to recognize basic math when you see it, and not to make things more complicated for yourself.
Credits for the Integrated Math Program