Silk Road Math Congress

School Meeting Share written and presented by 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders

In math class we are going on a Silk Road journey to Kashgar. We left the city of Chang’an and have now reached the city of Lanzhou. We had to make our itinerary choosing either the northern or southern route [around the Taklamakan Desert]. The southern route has fearsome sand storms, high temperatures and high sand dunes. We have to travel in the night because the temperatures are so high during the day. One of the benefits of going on the southern route is that there are more precious jewels and opportunities to trade for jade. The northern route has lots of comforts, but even more bandits. The stops have more oases with exotic fruits and melons.

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You may be wondering what does this have to do with math? Everyday we have been solving word problems related to our caravans’ inventory. Depending on our group, we’ve been using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to calculate our silk inventory, silk sales, food and water inventory and have even had to figure out how much water our caravan consumes. We’ve also had to arrange the camels in our caravan because some are picky about who they are next to in line. Some of us have also been calculating the weight of the silk and its value in both copper coins and gold coins. Before we left Chang’an we had to submit our itinerary and route plans to the Empress and Imperial Guards. Some of us were denied on our attempts and needed to add information and detail about our travel plans. Eventually we all received a letter of approval along with our passports for our journey. With each task we do we have to log it into our passport and show it to the empress, emperor, or imperial guard for their star of approval. At each city the guards stamp our passports for official entry. We have really enjoyed this journey and hope it will never end. We’ve been learning a lot about the Silk Road and the cities along the route. We’ve become stronger problem solvers and are enjoying the tasks.