Around the Horn Pow

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POW 9: Around the Horn

Problem Statement

During the time of crossing the overland trail, many people instead chose to take the ship route which went around Cape Horn at the tip of South America. The points that we are given to keep in mind are:

-A ship leaves New York for San Francisco on the first of every month at noon, and vice versa for a ship coming from San Francisco.

-Each ship arrives exactly six months after it leaves.

With these things, we are also going to assume that:

-The weather conditions are perfect and the trip goes exactly as planned.

-The time zones do not affect anything in this problem.

-There is a certain point that the ship must reach, or have reached at each month.

Assuming these
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No ships have been seen.

2nd Month: Both ships arrive at their second month point. No ships to be seen.
... Have students read the problem statement,and give them some class time to begin working on it. The problem may seem deceptively simple at first. You may need to offer suggestions for how students might begin their investigation. Acting out the situation can be helpful. The actual physical movement of passing another person “midmonth” often generates significant insight for students. You might also suggest creating diagrams of or using objects to represent the traveling ships. Questions will probably arise about whether to count a ship that arrives in New York as your ship leaves or a ship that leaves San Francisco as yours arrives. The time difference between New York and San Francisco may also lead to a need for clarification. The manner in which these questions are resolved is not as important as students recognizing the need for making decisions of interpretation and clarifying their assumptions. Emphasize that students should make their assumptions clear in their write-ups. This is a good POW on which to spend a few minutes of class time midway between the day it is introduced and the due date, encouraging students to share methods and findings. Students will often find that their peers have a variety of ideas, which can stimulate further thinking. If you don’t have class time for this, at least check in with students to remind them to