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Day 61: Hawaii

There are many lessons in Algebra that in typical math teacher fashion, I just love. Wind-Current rate-time-distance problems are one of them for me.

Usually I present a few examples and tell a (true) story of how I have used this knowledge outside of my math teacher role... in my real life... out in the REAL WORLD! They ooh and ahh. They question that I have a real life. *sigh* They listen attentively to my telling of how on two separate occasions I have won the Half-way to Hawaii game.

I don't know which airlines play and which do not, but every time I have flown to Hawaii, they play the game of finding when the plane will be half-way there. The captain gives you the rate of the plane, the distance, the time the plane took off and the rate of any tail or head wind. Of course, there is an element of chance involved in the game. Speeds aren't constant the entire flight, but I use my algebra skills to make my educated guess. I have been lucky to win twice. My students are eager to know the prize (a bottle of wine once and a box of chocolates the 2nd time). I am sure they will go home tonight and beg their parents to take them to Hawaii. :)

So today, after doing a sample like usual in which you must solve for both the rates of the plane and the wind, we took a trip to Hawaii.

I found actual speeds online to use, played some ukulele music and did a decent impression, saying, "This is your captain speaking..." They worked in pairs to find the time algebraically. Interestingly enough, the most common mistake was converting hours to minutes and seconds! I didn't give out wine or chocolates to the winners though next time I will let the first group finish take a prize from my prize barrel (maybe I should write a blog post about the importance of a prize barrel?).

While not excellent PrBL or Tlap, it was fun and my students were engaged, so I will file it as a win. 

Lastly, during my research for this lesson I found an app to use while in flight that takes the algebra right out. Harumph.