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Grade: Middle
Subject: Mathematics

#2210. "Survival" Math Unit

Mathematics, level: Middle
Posted Sun Apr 1 18:57:48 PDT 2001 by Jerry R. Jones (jrjones@idirect.com).
Kathleen Rowe Memorial Public School, Whitby,Ontario,Canada
Activity Time: 2 hours
Concepts Taught: Group Math Activity

Survival Math Unit

Survival( Math )

Introduction: (Divide the class into groups of four)

You and your group are stranded on a deserted island with only a limited amount of food, water, tools and materials. There is no chance of being rescued for at least 30 days. To ensure that you do not perish from dehydration, malnutrition, wild animal attacks or tropical storms, you must apply all of your knowledge and skills in completing a number of problem solving tasks. A daily log must be maintained to indicate that all situations were approached in the most effective manner.

Task One: (measurement)

Since you and your group are stranded on an island, there is a limit to your food supply. The following list of food items represents all of the raw food and water you have for the next 30 days.

7.5 litres of rice
7.5 litres of pasta
7.5 litres of beans
15 litres of mixed seeds
100 litres of bottled water.


1. What will the daily ration of food and water be for your group?

2. If one cup of food/ water is equal to two hundred fifty millilitres (250 ml), how many cups of food and water will
each person be issued a day?

Task Two (Numeration)

Water is needed to cook most of the raw food in your list. The following information will provide you with the food-water ratio you will need to cook your food:
Food-Water Ratio Chart
(1 cup = 250 ml)

Rice: ( 1 : 2 ratio )
Pasta ( 1 : 2 ratio )
Beans ( 1 : 3 ratio )

1. How much water will be needed to cook each raw food item?

2. If your group cooked one cup of all three raw food items once a day, how much water would be needed and much water would be left from your daily water supply?
Task Three : (Geometry)

To keep your group safe from tropical storms, wild animals and pesky bugs, you must build some sort of shelter for sleeping. Since there are limited building materials on the island, you must plan your shelter carefully. The following list of items are the only materials you can use for your shelter:

Material List

Quantity Item Size

35 logs 1' x 6'
1 roll rope 50 feet
2 bundles branches 3 feet long


1. Calculate how much square feet will be needed in your shelter to accommodate all of your group members.
2. Using a blueprint diagram, show the cubic dimension of your shelter.
3. Is it better to have a long shorter shelter or a tall thinner shelter? Explain your answer.
4. Draw or build a model of your shelter.

Task Four: (Patterning)

The ship that will be rescuing your group from the island will be arriving at the far end of your island in 30 days.
It will take your group between 10 - 12 hours to hike to the other end of the island. In order to meet the ship on time, you must leave base camp at sunrise and reach the pick-up point before sunset. It is impossible to hike through the jungle at night. To ensure you are not late for the rendevous, you must know exactly when the sun will rise and set on that last day. The following chart shows a specific pattern regarding the suns movement. Use the chart to predict what time the sun will rise and set each day on the island

Days on the Island Island Sunrise Time ( a.m. ) Island Sunset Time ( p.m. )
Day 1 7:11 8:06
Day 2 7:12 8:o4
Day 3 7:14 8:02
Day 4 7:15 8:01
Day 5 7:17 7:59
Day 6 7:18 7:57
Day 7 7:20 7:56
Day 8 7:54
Day 9 7:52
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15
Day 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19
Day 20
Day 21
Day 22
Day 23
Day 24
Day 25
Day 26
Day 27
Day 28
Day 29
Day 30


1. What is the rule for the pattern shown on the above chart?

2. What other patterns can you think of that are like the ones here?

3. When do you use number patterns in your daily activities?

Task Five: (Data Management )

Survivor Study.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Complete a tally chart to find out who watched the "Survivor Series" and who was the most popular survivor.
In your group, decide who will ask what question and how you are going to record the results.
When you have completed the tally chart, present the results in a series of graphs. Give your graphs a title.

Survey Questions:

1. How many people in the class watched some or all of the survival show? (Survey Question)
What is the percentage of students in the class who watched the show?

Number of students in the class________ Number of viewers________ = Number of viewers = ______%
Number of students

2. Out of the last nine people who were left on the island, what survivor was your favourite? (Survey Question)


Kelly Rudy Susan Gervais Jenna Greg Sean Colleen

3. If you were a survivor of a plane crash, in what climate or environment would you prefer to survive in?
(Survey Question)

Mountain Top Desert Tropical Island Northwestern Forest (BC)

4. Create your own Survey Question.