People call me “sick” but as a student, I loved the word problems in math class. They offered true-to-life examples of situations where the math could be applied, and I thought that was pretty cool. Here’s an easy one, suppose you have a boat that holds 10 people. Also, suppose that you want to take these 10 people on a 5 minute journey to a wonderful destination where you would wait while they were allowed to stay and explore for twenty minutes before everyone made the 5 minute journey home. The question is, if I’m the 11th person in line, how long would I have to wait before I could get on the boat and make the trip? The obvious answer is “30 minutes.” The trickier part of the question comes next… Let’s say that one person per minute gets in line. This means that every time you return to the dock, there’s another 30 people in line but you can only take 10 them. What time would you have to close in order to get all of the people in line to the destination? What’s your maximum capacity for an 8 hour day? How long will the last person in line have to wait?
This is essentially how it works at the Arizona War Memorial in
The memorial opens at 7:30 and the first boat ride out to the sunken ship and the memorial that stands above it leaves shortly thereafter. We got in line at 7am, we were on the third boat of the day which left at 8:15 and we returned to the base and were back in our car by 9am, having seen everything (and been very impressed, by the way). Others who arrived at 8:30 weren’t finished until 2pm and if you didn’t arrive until 12:00, you were stuck there until closing to catch the last boat.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t mind waiting to see something that is so inspirational. The sad fact is, there’s just not that much to do while you wait for the boat. You are assigned a boat number and a time as soon as you walk in the door. If that time isn’t for another 3 hours, you’re kind of stuck there wandering around the souvenir shops, etc. There’s an impressive short film about the war, etc, and that takes about 20 minutes. Sure, waking up at 6am on your vacation isn’t the most fun thing to do, but in the end, we were able to see everything the memorial had to offer and we were snorkeling with the whole day still in front of us by 9am.
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