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14th February 2022 matt mudie

? How many roses are cut for Valentine’s Day every year? ?

? How many love letters can you write with a single ballpoint pen? ?

❤️ How many times will your heart beat before you fall in love? ❤️

Fermi problems, named after physicist Enrico Fermi, require students to make quick mathematical estimates to solve a problem. The problems are not about finding an exact answer- most Fermi problems will never have an exact answer- but about justifying the assumptions that you have made. Then- if thought through- two different students should get an answer within the same order of magnitude.

Try them at home with your family! I’ve written a few Fermi Problems above that you could use today (Valentine’s Day), but you could think of your own or search for a few good ones on the internet.

Try this video as an introduction to estimating solutions to Fermi Problems:

A Clever Way to Estimate Enormous Numbers