# Pre-Algebra Road Trip Project

Well, since I’m preparing to start my first year of teaching, I decided that I really needed to finish posting the last few projects I did during my student teaching.

During my last week of student teaching, my cooperating teacher asked me to come up with a creative way to review some of the 8th grade math standards.

A lot of my students had been struggling with the concept of proportions. With lots of practice, they had been improving, but many students still weren’t comfortable with solving proportions.

I wanted to show students that proportions were definitely applicable to their lives. So, I created this pre-algebra road trip project. It actually turned into a 3-part project because the students were enjoying it so much.

Each student chose 5 cities to travel to on their road trip. Using a ruler, they drew out their route on a US map. Then, using the map scale, students determined the length of their road trip in miles.

Day 2 of the road trip project was spent using gas mileage and fuel costs for various vehicles to determine which vehicle students would take on their road trip.

On Day 3, we calculated food costs, hotel costs, and rental car costs. By the end of the 3-day project, students were much, much, much more comfortable working with ratios and proportions.

It was an amazing experience to see the light bulbs go off with so many of my students.

Looking back at Day 2 and 3, there are a ton of little things I would change. I actually changed the rental car problem on Day 3 because my students were having a ton of trouble with it. I just did a flat rate per day.

This pre-algebra road trip project is easily adjusted based on your time limitations and the level of your students. This was never intended on being a 3-day project. It just sort of evolved into one.

My 8th graders really enjoyed it. My cooperating teacher enjoyed it. My University Supervisor even observed me on Day 3 of the project.

The lesson was a little more chaotic than I had planned, but my supervisor complimented me on the project. He even asked for electronic copies of the files to send to some math teachers in China.

**Edited to Add**: I have also done this with my Algebra 1 students.

Since I had already done this project with 8th graders, I thought my Algebra 1 students would be able to whiz right through it. I was wrong. I had to teach many of my students how to read a ruler.

Rounding to the nearest quarter inch was a disaster. And, the questions students asked me made me feel more like a geography teacher than a math teacher.

These are actual conversations I had with my Algebra 1 students during this activity.

Me: Class, today we are going on a *road* trip. If we’re going on a *road* trip, that means we will be traveling on…

Class: Roads!

Me: Yes, so that means we can’t travel to…

Class: Hawaii

Student 1: Why can’t you drive to Hawaii?

Me: Hawaii is an island. That means it is surrounded by water.

Student 2: Why does Hawaii look so weird?

Custodian who just happens to be emptying the trash at this point: Hawaii is a series of small islands.

Student 3: Do you mean you can’t drive between the little islands?

Custodian: No. When I was in Hawaii, we traveled between the islands by taking ferries.

Student 1: Is Washington, D.C. here? [The student is pointing at Washington state.]

Me: No.

Student 2: No, Washington, D.C. is in Virginia.

Student 1: I think this map is wrong.

Me: Why?

Student 1: Oklahoma City should be above Tulsa.

Student 1: Do you mean Nashville, Tennessee is in the United States?

Me: Yes. Nashville is in the U.S.

Student 1: I’ve heard of it before, but I didn’t realize it was in the U.S.

I required my students to write both the city and the state they were visiting on their assignment. One student wrote that she was traveling to New Jersey, PA.

## Free Download of Pre-Algebra Road Trip Project

Road Trip Project Day 1 (WORD) (4951 downloads )

Road Trip Project Day 2 (WORD) (3691 downloads )

## Video with Instructions on Completing the Road Trip Project

I ran across a YouTube video that someone created to walk students through completing the Road Trip Project. I thought I would link it here in case it was of use to anybody.

This is an awesome project! Pinning it for future reference 🙂

☼ Kate

To The Square Inch

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This is amazing! Nicely done. When will you be able to post day 2 and day 3?

M

There aren't any files showing up to download? Could you email them?

Sure! E-mail me at mathequalslove (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll gladly attach the files and send them to you!

Sure! E-mail me at mathequalslove (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll gladly attach the files and send them to you!

This is an excellent project, but can you please add some color to the rest of the website. Thank you!

This is great! Thanks for sharing!

You're welcome! I'm glad you have found my blog to be useful!

Thanks for sharing! Used this in my college remedial class for an independent project.

You're welcome!

How did you determine the numbers for the vehicles in day 2? I am thinking of updating them before I use this project…

Hi Ashly! I got the fuel data for 25 miles from https://www.fueleconomy.gov/

Hope that helps!

hello can i have the answers for this project because my teacher broke her leg and didnt come to school to tell us what to do and its due tomorrow and i am from dubai:)

Sorry. This is designed to be an individual project. Every student will have a different route and thus different answers. Good luck!

Can you give me the answers for Part 2 the calculated MPG?

Let's think about what units our answer will be in. The units for gas mileage is miles per gallon. In this instance, "per" means we will divide. So, you will need to take the number of miles the car will go and divide by the number of gallons of fuel the car will require to go that many miles. Hope this helps!

Thanks for sharing….This is a great project! I used it this year with my students and plan on using it again. It provided them with a good amount of practice solving proportions as well as some good insight on what it might take to plan a real trip. At the end of the project they created a poster or PowerPoint and presented their road trip to the class. I love reading your blog and seeing how you make math fun.

Glad your students enjoyed the project! I like the idea of creating a poster or PowerPoint to present their trips! My students were so excited to share their trips with their classmates. They were especially interested in seeing who ended up taking the longest trip and the most expensive trip!

Thanks for reading my blog!

Can you give me an example of how to get and use a proportion on part 3 step 2?

My math team was just getting ready to create a project very similar to this. I am so glad I stumbled on this before we re-created the wheel! Thank you for sharing!!!! You have saved us a lot of time.

That's great to hear!

Oh wao! Thanks for sharing this pretty great project here. I will recommend it to my students and plan on using it. I really love to read your posts and feeling how much you make maths fun.

Thanks Brenda!

I am currently doing this project with my classes, but I've ran across a few issues. Therefore, I have a few questions for you:

1. Did you give them a budget or just let them spend however much they wanted?

2. Did you give them a maximum # of days they could be gone?

I have several students spending more than 2 months on this trip. Oh my! Haha! I also have numerous students who are spending close to $10,000 on this trip! WOW!

Tomorrow, they will be presenting these trips to the class. I may spend Monday going over the average family income for our city and compare the vacation expense to their income.

Any suggestions??

I've never given students these constraints, but I've often wished that I did. My students have done the same thing! I'd love to revise the project one day to involve a budget.

Great project! I was looking for a project for my students to complete this unit and I can't wait to present this! I love your blog…thank you for ALL the wonderful ideas!

Thanks! Hope you and your students enjoy the activity!

Can you please give me the answers to step 8 so i can teach my students. My email is uneedagurley1[at]gmail.com

This was an awesome exercise for my remedial math class. The children enjoyed it. And I folded in the aspect of searching for activities (including costs) in each city where they chose to stop.

Great addition! Glad you and your students enjoyed it!

i loved this it was a great project for my students they were so eager to do it, it was so much fun to see what they had chosen and why they chose it in the first place but you should put a budget on it other then that it is heaven thank you so much

hi

LOVE this project! My students are enjoying it too. Thank you!

Yay!

This comment has been removed by the author.

E-mail sent!

Can you please send me your email address. I have a question regarding part one and I want to make sure I can explain it to my students. Thank you

My e-mail is mathequalslove (at) gmail (dot) com