02 Jun

Ford Stadium

During the math tour I gave on the campus of Southern Methodist University, I was given the challenge of estimating the seating capacity of the Ford Stadium, never having seen it before and without any prior information about the stadium. To recap the techniques that I used, I first broke down the seating sections into two types: the “side” sections and the “corner” sections. I modeled the side sections as perfect rectangles, counting the number of rows and the number of seats in each row and multiplying to get the total number of seats in the section. I was greatly helped in counting the seats in each row by small numbers imprinted across some of the benches to indicate the individual seats. I modeled the “corner” sections as trapezoids of seats, averaging the estimated number of seats in the bottommost and topmost rows and multiplying by that same number of rows. I then counted the number of side sections and multiplied by the seats in each section, and counted the number of corner sections and multiplied by the number of seats in each of those sections, and added everything up. In the end, my estimates were well within five percent of the true value, which was a lot of fun for estimating such a large number. See if your participants can also come close!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *