by Dave Stahler

Topics in Math

Personal Finance

Dave Stahler
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TITLE: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

SUBJECT: Topics in Math

TOPIC: Personal Finance

INTERACTIVITY: Students will attempt to cross the country on a budget. At each stop students will roll a die to continue the game. Students will be responsible for determining their own finances on the trip.


Your goal is to get from snow-covered Reading, PA, to sunny and warm San Diego, CA. You want your trip to be as fast and as inexpensive as possible.

At each stop you will roll the die provided (single die). You are to follow the instructions on the card corresponding to the number you rolled. You must budget $40 a day for food and other disposable items.

  • You have $1000.00 to start your trip.
  • You may choose to travel by automobile or by airplane.
  • Air travel costs $0.30 per mile. The plane travels 300 miles per hour.
  • Travel by automobile costs $0.05 per mile. The average speed of the car is 70 miles per hour.
  • Anytime you are held over or spend the night counts as another day
  • You must follow all of the directions on the card you have drawn.
  • You are responsible for keeping records of your expenses and your travel on the sheets provided.
  • The winner will be the person who arrives in the least amount of time. IN the event of a tie the winner will be the person with the most money remaining.

TIME: The activity should take between 15 and 20 minutes

SPECIAL CONSTRUCTION: I used a map that I found in a bookstore.

CREDIT: The students who complete the trip will receive 10 points on a test.

Dave Stahler