Applying maths to solve problems in the real world…

Roller Coaster Capacity (2)

Difficulty: Rating:

GCSE Marks:

GCSE Text: A roller coaster at a theme park is based on a runaway mine train. Each train can carry up to 30 passengers, and a train leaves the loading station every 90 seconds.

If the ride opens at 8:00 am and runs continually until 11:30 pm, what is the maximum number of people that can ride this attraction?

Suggestions:
This is a simple and fun video showing some of the maths involved in ride design at theme parks. It links strongly with other holiday themed problems, and often leads into conversations of ‘waiting times’ and queuing. This question requires students to understand time calculations, and is often used as a non-calculator question for more able students. There is a similar video for lower ability students where the train frequency is easier.

Extension Ideas:

Teachers could extend the learning by considering:

The ratio of adults to children riding the roller coaster is 5:4. How many children are likely to ride this roller coaster in a single day?

The ride has been operating with 2 empty seats per train, as staff have not been filling all seats. How many extra people could have ridden this attraction if those seats had been filled with single riders?

Ben the ride’s Manager multiplies the daily capacity by 365 and states that over 10 million people ride this coaster in a year. Is this an accurate statement?