The Wall Street Journal had an article about airline seats shrinking over time. It’s packed with measurements which simply scream “math project!”
Some relevant data from the article:
- There are ten seats per row in economy on a Boeing 777 with two aisles
- Economy seats are 17″ wide
- Aisles are 17″ wide, plus two 2″ armrest spaces on each side (so 21″ except at your knees)
- First class seats are 21″ wide
- Regal movie theater seats are 25″ wide
- Amtrak seats in coach are 20.5″ wide
- Stadium seats at Barclays Center are 19″ wide
- In the 1990s, Boeing 777s had 18.5″ seats in coach
- Update! Another article from the Sydney Morning Herald, explaining the sleep benefits of a one inch increase in seat width.
What’s The Project?
I want to hear what you might do with this intriguing data, but here were a few quick ideas I had:
- Find the width of school chairs and compare to airline seats.
- Build a scale model of coach and first class seats.
- Multiply across the rows to find its total width, compare with the actual data
What kind of a project would you build around this data? Remember to think about conflict in math. Let us know what grade/subject you’re teaching.
Update! A kindergarten teacher wrote in to tell me that her students used their tiny chairs to figure out how many of them could fit across a 777. Love it.