Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What is the Weight of the Snow You Shoveled this Winter?

A colleague of mine gave me an article today from the Chicago Tribune called "One man's snow-shoveling total: 25 tons (and counting)"   Take some time and read it.  I loved it.  There is a TON of math in this.  Pun intended.  Wallberg (the author) challenged us to find the amount of snow that we have shoveled on our own driveway.  So, being the math geek that I am, I did it.  Here is my work.

1.  I found the area that I shovel on my driveway. Use this site:  Free Map Tools This site is really cool.

2.  Let's change snow to water. Wallberg (the author of the article) uses a 15 inches of snow to 1 inch of water ratio.  So we have had 75.2 inches of snow this year so far divided by 15 will give us the amount of water in inches that we have had this winter.  That is 5.01 inches of "rain" that fell as snow.  That is (5.01/12) of a foot.
 from www.montecitowater.com/
3.  Ok now lets figure out how many cubic feet of water that is.  I took the area that I found for my driveway from the cool website above and multiplied that by (5.01/12).  That is 1085 square feet times (5/12) foot to equal the number of cubic feet of water that is on my driveway.  Remember that the (5/12) foot will be changing as there is more snow predicted tonight.  That would be roughly 453 cubic feet of water.

4.  One cubic foot of water weighs 62.4 pounds.  If you multiply 452 cubic feet from above by 62.4 pounds you get roughly 28,267 pounds of snow (water).  Yes that is over 14 tons of snow that I shoveled!  I just patted myself on the back and said "Good Job David".

HAVE YOUR STUDENTS CALCULATE THE WEIGHT OF THEIR OWN DRIVEWAY.
They will need to use this info.
1.  Find the area that you shovel on your driveway.   Free Map Tools
2.  Use 15 inches of snow equals 1 inch of water ratio.
3.  Use 62.4 pounds per cubic foot of water.

The beautiful part of this problem is that their are a lot of ways to come up with the answer.  Wallberg (the author of the article) found the weight of 1 square foot of water by 1 inch high.  He used this to get the the weight of 1 square foot of water for whole seasons worth of snow (water).  I love this problem because it gives the students some ownership of the work.  Give it a try.  I certainly will.

Thanks to mwalberg@tribune.com Twitter: @mattwalberg1  for writing this cool article.

Ramsey Willis said...

Hi Dave

Oh, how I miss the days...well, not really! Now that I am in the south (I am originally from Michigan) I don't have to deal with snow anymore. But this sounds like fun (the math, not the shoveling) and to find out that you have shoveled 14 tons of snow, what a feat. It felt like I did that every time we got over 4 inches and that happened a lot. Congrats on shoveling that much and it sounds like a good project for high school children. Hey, they can shovel the snow for their parents. Thanks for giving me ideas and inspiring me. I really like your blog. Keep the good posts coming!

autismplusmath said...

Okay, so how do I calculate the snow that gets added at the end of the driveway every time the plow trucks go by? :-)

This is a meaningful real world math problem, and one that I could actually envision students sharing with their parents over the dinner table--yes, math discussions at the dinner table! (I shared a link to this on my blog: Blog Post 100! The mathematics of snow)

Glenn Laniewski
Blog:
autismplusmath
Related Post:
Technology Divide Worsens on Snow Days

Mike Raven said...

Like your blog Dave. I am starting a Blog Roll and if you don't mind I've added your blog.

Cheers,
Mike
Brisbane, Australia

Columbus Math Tutor said...

We would have to factor in all the different types of snow as well! Fluffy, wet, packing, etc. Could be a good cross-teaching opportunity with science teachers.