Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Average Traveler Activity

At the AMTNJ Conference last Thursday I did the average traveler activity with the 26 math educators who attended my session "Back to the Future: Teaching & Learning Math with Technology (3.0)"
Based on the distances that each attendee traveled to get to this conference, I asked who in this room would represent the average distance traveled? Guesses ranged from 20 to 50 miles. Since we didn’t have access to computers to do this in real time, I used the distance from each attendee’s school (or administrative office) to the Holiday Inn in Somerset, NJ (where this session took place) to figure this out. I added placemarks at each school's location using Google Maps and used the distances provided by the software. Which school’s placemark do you think is closest to the average distance that the participants traveled to this conference? The yellow marker is the site of the conference.

I used Geometer’s Sketchpad to draw a circle with the location of the session at the center and the radius of the circle gives an estimate of the distance to the various schools represented. By changing the radius of the circle I could approximate what the average was. The radius of the circle in the image is 49 miles. Note there are several schools that are candidates for being closest to the average distance. Take a look at Google Maps and identify your location. The sites are open for you to make corrections and updates.
Here is a Google spreadsheet of the relevant data.

Check out the links provided and see if all this makes sense to you. Let me know by sending me a comment below.

Oh, I almost forgot. The Average travelers were from Wayne Valley High School. The average distance was 46.42 miles and Google Maps reported that Wayne was 46.6 miles away. It was almost a bull's eye. I owe you a prize!

original posting: 11/30/08

Please send your comment or question about this activity (2/13/12)


  1. Doing the average traveler activity in Indianapolis at the CLIME booth #326. Stop by to play and possibly win a prize! More details.

  2. Please let me know what you thought of this activity!