Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Average Traveler Activity Redux

At the NCTM Conference last April I did what I call the Average Traveler activity with the 36 math educators who attended my session "Math 2.0: Scenes from a Dynamic Classroom."
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 200 to 800 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 Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA (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 809 miles which is the approximate value for the average. Note there are no schools that are candidates for being closer to the average distance than Mr. Fogg. 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.

Please post your comments or questions about this activity below.