Olympic Math, 540s and 1080s

Ready for an Olympic Math Event in your classroom?  Try introducing this concept to students working to understand that each circle is 360°. 

Gold Medal Snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg made three jumps as a part of his winning run in the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle event. On the first he performed a 1260, on the second a 1080, and a 1620 on his final jump.  To the uninitiated the trick numbers may seem random but most math teachers will figure out quickly that they refer to the degree of rotation the board undergoes while airborne.

  • 540 = 540° of rotation or 1 ½ times around
  • 720 = 720° of rotation or 2 times around
  • 1080 = 1080° or rotation or 3 times around
  • 1260 = 1260° or 3 ½ times around
  • 1620 = 1620° or 4 ½ times around

Here are two challenges you may want to share. As preparation to the challenge remind students that when a snowboarder makes a half turn (180) the board is then backwards.

CHALLENGE 1:  For her three jumps, Jamie Anderson, Gold Medalist in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle event performed a 720 followed by a 540 and another 720.  What was the total number of revolutions Jamie made in her jumps and was as her board going backwards or forwards at the end of her run?

CHALLENGE 2: Sage Kotsenburg’s complete run consisted of a 270, 540, 180, 1260, 1080, 1620. What was the total number of revolutions Sage made and was his board backwards or forwards when he ended?

Check back with us. We’ll have more Olympic math fun for you.  

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