Zip Line to Another Land

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.

Zip Line to Another Land

August 13, 2015

Zip lines give us a way to fly without wings. We strap on a belt, hook it to a long rope stretched between two places, and slide at top speed from one end to the other. Zip lines can run down a mountain or weave through the jungle. But one of our favorite zip lines takes you from one country to another. In the Spanish town of Sanlucar de Guadiana, you can ride a zip line that carries you across the Guadiana River to Alcoutim, Portugal. You start 328 feet above the river, and end 50 feet above the river, traveling more than 2,000 feet in less than a minute. Not only is it the world’s only zip line that crosses a country border, but it also brings you into the next time zone — people’s clocks across Portugal read one hour earlier! Between the speed, the heights and the time change, that’s one confusing trip.
Wee ones: If it’s 4:00 in Spain when you start the trip, and it’s 1 hour earlier in Portugal when you land, what time is it in Portugal?

Little kids: If it takes you 7 minutes to suit up for the zip line, 1 minute to ride it and 2 minutes to pull off the harness, how long does the whole adventure take?  Bonus: If the zip line is 2,363 feet long, is that more or less than a mile (5,280 feet)?

Big kids: The zip line starts 328 feet above the river and ends just 50 feet above it. How many feet does the rider fall?  Bonus: 328 feet is about as tall as a stack of 10 houses. About how many feet tall would each house be if they were all equal?

The sky’s the limit: If the trip were exactly 2/5 mile long, how many seconds would the trip take if you were zipping at exactly 1 mile per minute? (Reminder if needed: A minute has 60 seconds.)




Wee ones: 3:00 pm.

Little kids: 10 minutes.  Bonus: Less than a mile.

Big kids: 278 feet.  Bonus: 33 feet.

The sky’s the limit: It would take 2/5 of a minute, or 24 seconds.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

More posts from this author