Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In the sky with diamonds

Yesterday in the Excel Math blog I introduced the 400-foot-long  Perkins Road Train. It's the longest US road vehicle ever, and is currently moving a 3/4 of a million pound boiler from San Diego to Utah.

Today we'll look at the recently-announced, kilometer-tall Kingdom Tower. I've spent a long time today gathering data that has been reported about this project. Here are some of the numbers that our elementary math students will understand, WHEN they learn the underlying concepts taught in our curriculum [the concepts are shown below in brackets like this].

THE DEAL
• HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is building the tower; his assets are worth about 20 billion dollars [money]
• The Prince may be the 20th richest person in the world [ordinal numbers]
• The proposed tower would be the tallest in the world [comparative value words]
• The tower is expected to take 63 months (about 5 years) to build [time, calendar, months and years]
• The cost of the tower will be 4.6 billion riyal, which is US \$1.23 billion, while the value of the land is 8.8 billion riyal, which is about US \$2.5 billion[foreign exchange conversion; decimal numbers; money]
• The prince's company and another firm will each have a 33% or 1/3rd interest while the contractors and another man will each take a 16% or 1/6th interest in ownership of the tower [percentages; fractions of the whole
• Adrian Smith, the principal architect, tells us why we don't have the world's biggest towers in the United States: "tall buildings are a catalyst for developing the land around them ... the person who owns the tall buildings and the land around them will make his money off the land. The tower gives the land prestige, location and identity. One of the problems in the United States is that most super-tall buildings are in the inner city. You just can’t get that much land in the U.S. because we’re not really developing new cities."

THE TOWER
• The floor area of the inside of the tower will be  at least 5.7 million square feet [concept of area]
• The tower will be at least 1000 meters (3281 feet) tall, or described in larger units, 1 kilometer (.62 miles) [distance; height; metric units; conversion]
• The base of the tower will be about 2 square miles although it will be a triangular shape, not square [geometric shapes; area]
• A ride to the top in one of the 59 elevators would take at least 4 minutes, if an elevator rises 1000 feet per minute [combination units; feet per minute; estimating]
• The observation deck elevators will travel at 10 meters per second so the ride to the top will take 100 seconds, or 1.6 minutes! [metric units of velocity, time conversion]
THE LOCATION
• The tower will be located very close to sea level [elevation
• The tower will be in the center of the 23-hectare (55 acre) Waterfront District [area; metric conversion]
• The tower will be located north of the city of Jeddah, whose 4 million residents live close to the Red Sea. [large numbers ]
• The building site's latitude and longitude are 21.733°N and 39.090°E [maps; navigation]
MORE DETAILS