Huff Wagon Train

Wagon Wheel Math

In pioneer days, there were a lot of road signs, or even roads. Finding water meant you need to be watchful for landmarks and also counting miles. Wagons had their own versions of odometers. There was a device that clicked off each time a wagon wheel made a complete revolution. From this they calculated how many miles the wagon went that day.

If you know the radius of a wheel, how do you figure out the diameter?

If you know the diameter of a wheel, how do you figure out the circumference?

Once you have the circumference, in feet, how many times would that circumference happen in one mile?

How would figure out the number of miles the wagon went if you knew the number of revolutions?

(Try a wheel with a 2 foot radius that turned 6090 times. Can you get an answer of approximately 15 miles?)


This educational project is a partnership venture of Madera Unified School District, Madera, California; the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; the Texas Historical Commission; and the many generous and gracious communities along the route.

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