Shunting Problem

Shunting Problem

Two trains are travelling along the same stretch of single line track towards each other. Each train consists of a locomotive and two carriages. There is however a siding that can take one locomotive and one carriage. How is it possible for the two trains to pass each other by using this siding?

A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day


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Topics: Starter | Creativity | Fun | Logic | Multiple Intelligences | Problem Solving

  • Transum,
  •  
  • This make a change! Quite a different Starter Of The Day requiring logic, sequencing and lateral thinking (not necessarily in that order!). We envisage pupils working on this puzzle at their desks using items from their pencil cases to represent the locomotives and carriages. They will need to devise a system of recording their solution so that they don’t forget it and can explain it to others.

    If one objective of the Starter Of The Day is to engage pupils right from the very beginning of the lesson we hope this puzzle will fit the bill. It is one or many shunting problems that have proved popular with problem solvers for many years. These challenges are also known as railway shunting puzzles or railroad switching puzzles.

    Don’t forget to show the Flash animation of our solution further down the page.
  • Jason, Louisville
  •  
  • Where do I find the solution?

    [Transum: The answers are below but you need to be signed in to your Transum account to see them. You can sign up for an account here.]
  • Mrs Roberts, Sydney, Australia
  •  
  • This looks awesome.

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This starter has scored a mean of 3.2 out of 5 based on 354 votes.


Previous Day | This starter is for 9 January | Next Day

 

If you can't see the images above it may be because you do not have a recent version of the Flash Player installed or that your device (such as the iPad) cannot show Flash diagrams.


Toy Trains Shunting Problem

Teacher: If you have young children of your own borrow their toy trains and use these printable train tracks for a real hands-on experience (small plastic trees not included).



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Have you read Craig's book yet?

Craig Barton must surely be the voice of Mathematics teachers in the UK. His wonderful podcasts interviewing the industry experts have culminated in this wonderful book. As Craig says: "I genuinely believe I have never taught mathematics better, and my students have never learned more. I just wish I had known all of this twelve years ago..." more...

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The Craig Barton Book

Graphic Display Calculator

This handheld device and companion software are designed to generate opportunities for classroom exploration and to promote greater understanding of core concepts in the mathematics and science classroom. TI-Nspire technology has been developed through sound classroom research which shows that "linked multiple representation are crucial in development of conceptual understanding and it is feasible only through use of a technology such as TI-Nspire, which provides simultaneous, dynamically linked representations of graphs, equations, data, and verbal explanations, such that a change in one representation is immediately reflected in the others.

For the young people in your life it is a great investment. Bought as a gift for a special occasion but useful for many years to come as the young person turns into an A-level candidate then works their way through university. more...

iPad Air

The analytics show that more and more people are accessing Transum Mathematics via an iPad as it is so portable and responsive. The iPad has so many other uses in addition to solving Transum's puzzles and challenges and it would make an excellent gift for anyone.

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Before giving an iPad as a gift you could add a link to iPad Maths to the home screen.

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Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers?
Do they have iPads or Laptops in Lessons?

Whether your students each have a TabletPC, a Surface or a Mac, this activity lends itself to eLearning (Engaged Learning).

Laptops In Lessons

Here a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments.

Transum.org/go/?Start=January9

Here is the URL which will take them to a related student activity.

Transum.org/go/?to=shunting

Student Activity

 



Classic Shunting Puzzles

Classic Shunting Puzzles

If you have scrolled this far down the page you may well be interested in our collection of Classic Shunting Puzzles which are fascinating, enjoyable and adictive!

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