Plan a trip


This is a practical exercise to improve math skills and get students to think about applying math to problems they will encounter in life.

Sample Problem

You just bought your first car and want to visit your girlfriend who lives 50 miles away. You were paid from your part-time job and have 30 dollars. Your car gets 30 miles per gallon. Gas costs $2.20/gal. You also want to treat your girlfriend to a movie for $7.50 and lunch at McDonald’s for $6.25. Do you have enough money?


Total miles: (2 x 50) = 100 miles

miles/gallon:30 miles

total gallons needed: 100 miles divided by 30/mpg=3.3 gallons

cost of gas: 3.3 gallons x $2.20=$7.26

cost of movie: (2 x 7.50)=$15

cost of lunch: (2 x 6.25)=$12.50

Total cost of trip: ($7.26+$15+$12.50)=$34.76

Answer: You’d better come up with another 5 bucks.

Extra credit: What should you always bring with you?

Answer: An empty gas canister.

About The Author

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I have been doing volunteer tutoring with middle school students in math, reading and social studies for three years in southern Arizona. I have BA in journalism and worked for a stint on a newspaper. Later on I went back to school to be a nurse and worked in that field for three years. I thought ...
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