Fun example and certainly one that could and should be used to encourage interest in STEM among girls. While the math may play out, I like your mom's version that the slippers were magic. Afterall, some fairy tales are better left to just that--fairy tales.
Beth, I agree. Its cool to use engineering to solve old and new problems. Its also important to maintain a creative mindset through imagination foster by fairytales. Also, the problem illustrates that not only men are good engineers but women as well. This problem should be presented to the Myth Busters to validate the math behind the solution.
Your point about the King Kong example got me thinking that using these well indoctrinated, childhood stories as a basis to explore engineering concepts and mathematical theories could actually be a solid way to introduce kids, boys and girls, to what's possible in an engineering career. I'm not sure they'd hold ground for those who've moved beyond the introductory stage, but by exposure, they could definitely spark initial interest in the field, especially for kids who might be bored or not fully become engaged with traditional examples.
My concern about glass slippers (since I knew I would never wear them) was that they would be uncomfortable because they are not flexible. Obviously Cindarella had to be careful how she walked. I'd like to see the analysis of Cindarella turning into a pumpkin!
The most puzzling part of the story for me is the "lived happily ever after" part. Will there be a sequel?
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