Math in Surprising Places!

Filed under: Iditarod! — iditalearn2010 @ 12:53 pm

off-we-gothumbnailFirst-off, we’re still in Wasilla. The day yesterday was beautiful, and we took off in the plane, but it was really windy and that can be tricky for flying and landing the bush plane. So for safely reasons, we came back to the Willow airport and will try again Tuesday.

On to math!

weighing-inthumbnailWe had to pack the plane yesterday. Imagine all our cold weather things: sleeping bags, big boots, gas stove, survival bag, tent, computer stuff…. Three people’s things had to fit into a space the size of a car trunk!

We also had to stay under 680 pounds for all the things and people (not counting the pilot–his weight is calculated along with the plane’s weight), and a person can weigh between 140 and 180 pounds…each. There are two people.

adding-up-the-weightthumbnailI weighed 152 pounds with all my winter gear on (two layers of long underwear tops and bottoms, a windstopper vest, fleece sweatshirt, heavy bib overalls, two pair of socks, bunny boots, two pair of glove liners and gloves, fleece gator for my neck and head, sunglasses, hat, parka).

The only way to weigh the things was for me to stand on a scale and hold each item. We’d see the weight of me and the item, then had to subtract my weight to find out exactly what the item weighed. Here are some of the things we have to bring and what each weighed in pounds (lbs.).

  • my backpack–23 lbs
  • my computer gear–11 lbs
  • sleeping bags–7 lbs each (three of them for a total of 21 lbs.)
  • freeze-dried food–22 lbs
  • tent–9 lbs
  • heater–13.5 lbs (for the plane engine compartment)
  • gas stove–3.5 lbs (to heat water)
  • gallon of fuel–7 lbs (for stove)
  • satellite phone–4 lbs
  • bunny boots–5 lbs
  • parkas–4 lbs. (two of them for a total of 8 lbs.)
  • survival bag–24 lbs (hatchet, fire starter, waterproof matches, hook and string, and more!)

Then Mr. Paulsen added up the totals to see what could come along and what had to be left behind. He got 664 pounds. Mr. Lashock (the dog handler) checked over Mr. Paulsen’s math and came up with a different total: 661 pounds.

Other items weighed the following in pounds (lbs.):

So, who was right about the total weight? Why do you know? Are you sure? What would you need to do to be sure you added correctly?


In this case does it matter that you added perfectly, or is “about” good enough?

Keep on adding to your dreams!
Ms. Cater


  1. Hi Mrs. Cater!
    We heard that you’re having trouble getting to Nikolai. Stay safe! Hello to all the kids at in the school there. Are you having a blizzard? Is that why you’re having trouble getting there? How did you decide to work with and help Randy Cummings? How are the dogs handling the trail conditions? Today Mr. Brown’s class and our class tried out their new sleds. It was doggerific!! Yesterday we made Rice Huskies with our 4th Grade buddies in Mrs. Klukas’ class. Thanks for teaching us about our neighbors to the north! We’ll be watching from afar!

    Comment by Mrs. Paulsen's Class — 03/06/2007 @ 11:42 am

  2. Hi Mrs. Cater,
    We can’t believe that you had that much weight that you had to take along. We didn’t realize that those things weighed so much. We hope you have a safe flight, and everything fits on the plane.
    Mrs. Deans and Mrs. Birno’s Class
    PS=We feel you don’t need the exact weight in lbs. if you are way below the total.

    Comment by Mrs. Deans/Mrs. Birno — 03/06/2007 @ 1:38 pm

  3. Dear Mrs. Cater,

    I got 662.5 pounds. I think Mr. Paulsen rounded the half pounds up and Mr. Lashock rounded them down. As long as the weight is under 680 pounds it doesn’t matter if you round up or down. Hope you have a good trip.


    Comment by Stefan — 03/06/2007 @ 6:29 pm

  4. Hello from Nikolai school.
    Arrived safely
    Not as windy today so we were able to land at the checkpoint safely.
    Can you find where I am on the trail map ?

    Comment by Mrs. Cater — 03/06/2007 @ 6:34 pm

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