Math Mondays

Math Mondays – A Train Question

I typically pass a train on my daily commute home.  Some days, like today, I am traveling in the same direction. Others I am traveling in the opposite direction.  I usually pay little attention to them, but Friday and today the trains were exceptionally long.

So I have a question…several actually.   Initially I wanted to know if the train was more than one mile long.  Then I wondered if there was a way to determine the train’s length.  This made me wonder if is this the making of a three act task.  And since I believe it is, I also want to know what is the necessary information to determine the train’s length.   How does the problem change if you are traveling in the same direction instead of the opposite direction?

And this leads me back to three act tasks.  If you know Dan Meyer 🙂 please tell him I have a ton of  questions for him about these tasks.  For starters, when engaging students in this process do you provide all three photos or only the first photo?   I am thinking you should make them ask for the other photos and determine the details of the second act as a group.

For now, I will take the questions I have asked here and I will let them carry me as far as they can.

Source: Fragile X Files

I hope you are all willing to jump on board and ask and answer questions along with me.  It should be quite an adventure

And, that, to me, is what math is all about!

All aboard!!!! (Sorry, I could not help myself.)

2 thoughts on “Math Mondays – A Train Question”

  1. I’ve felt a similar shock of curiosity on our local train line when one train crosses the other going in the opposite direction. It’s so fast and so brief and so dramatic. I’m trying to figure out what I’m wondering most, though. I think I’m wondering how fast the trains are going. And I think the information I need is a) how long it takes them to cross each other (could get video), b) how long each train is. That’s as far as I’ve gone in my head, though. If you go farther, let us know.


    1. Thank you Dan for the reply. This is another testament to the power of Twitter. There is no need to ask my friends to contact you. I was able to do it myself.
      I think I have a solution to finding the length of the train is going the same direction. I am considering cases on them going in the opposite direction.


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