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Geometry in the Real World!

As one who taught all levels of mathematics from sixth grade through PreCalculus, along with a BS in Mathematics, I have always been intrigued with the subject.  I try to help inspire others to this day, as well! Did you know that cruises can incorporate this?

Early Saturday morning mathematics competitions in high school, getting that first TI-81 graphing calculator, and the spaghetti bridge project some do in either Geometry or Physics classes in high schools come to mind when recalling my school years.  On a hike in Denali National Park along the McKinley Station Trail following a northbound Alaska cruise (Vancouver to Seward), we came upon this gorgeous bridge that is used by the Alaska Railroad.  After discussing how the train was previously the only way to get people up to Denali, the math teacher mom in me kicked it in gear, asking those delving questions:

  1. What shapes do you see?

  2. Tilt your head sideways – see anything differently?

  3. What is the strongest geometrical shape?

  4. How tall do you think that is?

  5. Can we estimate the heigh based on the triangles?

  6. Can it really support a heavy train rolling through several times a day?

And of course, being a mom to two, there’s always that second child who asks if we could climb it up to the railroad tracks.  Nope, safety first, but a great lesson of getting the some mathematics out of a simple hike in a beautiful National Park to incorporate a little math!  Don’t forget to check out other videos / posts and see various ways to incorporate learning into your travels without your kiddos realizing it, or take a peek at my philosophy of education!

Where are some other cool bridges you have seen on cruises? I have several that come to mind while cruising such as Lions Gate and Golden Gate, even smaller bridges on European river cruises such as in Strasbourg and Český Krumlov, but what about you?

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