Plane Ride on the Highway

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Plane Ride on the Highway

August 3, 2015

As awesome as airplanes are, the airport itself is an amazing creation, too. Planes flying in from every direction have to line up, land while still flying over 100 miles an hour, skid to a stop, and then get out of the way for the next plane landing. That’s why the Gibraltar airport looks so crazy compared to most airports. This skinny finger of land at the tip of Spain had very little flat space for an airport — just 2.3 square miles. So as we see here, they built the runway right through the city, across the major 4-lane highway in and out of town. So when a plane lands, gates come down to hold back the cars for about 10 minutes, until the coast is clear to cross. This happens up to 30 times a week. The good news is, once you get off the plane, you don’t even need a taxicab, because you’re just 500 yards from the middle of town!

Wee ones: If 5 cars are stopped by the gates, what numbers do you say to count them?

Little kids: Who has more wheels, a 4-wheeled car, or a plane with 3 pairs of landing wheels? (Clarification if needed: A pair has 2 wheels.)  Bonus: If the gates come down at 2:02 pm for a plane to land and come back up 10 minutes later, when do the cars get to drive again?

Big kids: If on the 5 weekdays the road shuts down for landings 4 times a day, how many more landings happen on the weekends to add up to 30 for the week?  Bonus: If you’re zooming towards the crossing at 3:09:40 (40 seconds after 3:09 pm) and you’re 40 seconds away, and the gates will come down at 3:10:35, will you make it?




Wee ones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Little kids: The plane, since it has 6 wheels.  Bonus: At 2:12 pm.

Big kids: 10 more landings, since there have been 20 so far.  Bonus: Yes, because you’ll reach the gates at 3:10:20.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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