The Math Forum: 1996 
Summer Institute - sum96

July 15-19, 1996 - Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Back to Traffic Jam || 1996 Summer Institute Main Page || Agenda

Traffic Jam Solutions and Reflections

One group's investigations

Elizabeth Weber describes her group:


After a half-hour experimenting, everybody went back inside to discuss the math. Here are some ideas that surfaced: Traffic Jam is an interesting exercise that highlights aspects of effective cooperation and can be used to focus on the development of different representations of the problem, and different languages (visual, symbolic, etc.) that bring out varied ways of perceiving and working through a problem.

A graphical representation

Here's one way to show the moves for three people on a side:

    Everybody faces the center space:

  1. Green slides forward into the open space.
  2. Yellow jumps green.

  3. Orange slides forward.
  4. Green jumps orange.

  5. Blue jumps yellow.
  6. Purple slides forward.

  7. Yellow jumps purple to reach the end of the row.
  8. Orange jumps blue.

  9. Red jumps green.
  10. Green slides forward to reach the end of the row.

  11. Blue jumps red.
  12. Purple jumps orange.

  13. Orange slides forward.
  14. Red jumps purple.

  15. Purple slides forward.

- Sarah Seastone

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Math Forum * * * * 16 July 1996