Enjoying Word Problems at the Houston Auto Show

The cool people at the Houston Auto Show asked me to do some coverage of the expo for them. It was a fun idea to do some car-math stuff, so I accepted.

When I cover an event like this, I always go in with a Dan Myers mindset: “What are the questions that come to mind?”

Instead of just asking the standard math questions, though, I’ve decided to get a little crazy. I’ve created some fun word problems based on the things I saw and did.

Note that not all of these have standard answers. Be creative. And make sure you share your answers in the comments!

Scale Model Scissors

I was there for the opening gala and watched the ribbon cutting. I found the scissors especially interesting:

Scale model scissors caught my attention before I ever saw the cars!

Q: The scissors are a 1/18 working model of regular scissors. The man holding the scissors is 6′ 2″. If everything in this picture was scaled so the scissors were the size of actual scissors, how tall would he actually be?

Mirrors & Distance

The energetic video personality, Zane Aveton, caught me snuggling with the new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider in this photo:

Reflection of me in the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider at the Houston Auto Show

Q: Zane is sitting in the driver’s seat of the Alfa Romeo, 3 feet from the mirror. I’m 8 feet from the mirror taking a photo of the wheel, how far is my image away from Zane?
a. 11feet
b. 8 feet
c. 3 feet
d. 16 feet
e. None of these

Flower Wheels & Graphing

While Zane was taking my photo, I was taking this one of the new Alfa Romeo Giulia wheel:

The beautiful Alfa Romeo Giulia wheel can be graphed!

Q: What is the equation that, when graphed, results in the “flower” pattern on the wheel?

The fun and talented Dan Bach responded to this one on twitter:

Saving Babies

GMC is cleverly using logic in their new rear seat alert feature on the 2017 Acadia.

GMC uses logic to help parents remember kids in the back seat!

Here’s when the alert goes off:

  1. Back door closes
  2. Front door closes
  3. Car is driven
  4. Front door opens
  5. Back door does NOT open

Q: Write out a logical construction, flowchart, or computer program, to represent the logic process in this GMC feature.

Going Full Tilt

The ride in this Ram Truck looked like so much fun!

Q: What is the angle of the hill in this video? What information would you need to know to figure out the maximum angle the Ram Truck can drive before tipping over?

Bigger is Better

Toyota had this giant cube displayed:

Toyota had this giant cube displayed at the Houston Auto Show

Q: The Toyota RAV4 has 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space. You have a pair of stilts that are 9 feet long and have a volume of 2 square feet. What information do you need to know to find out if your stilts will fit in the RAV4?

See Math at an Auto Show Near You!

The next time you see a billboard for the Auto Show in your neighborhood, consider taking your kids and seeing all the math it offers.

You don’t have to have any right answers (like these). Or even any right questions. But just pondering stuff like this helps you and your kids!


P.S. They paid me to cover the show, but (obviously) all math problems are written by me. 😀

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