A Well-Tuned State

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

A Well-Tuned State

July 31, 2019

Sure, bluegrass is a type of grass (that’s sort of blue). But it’s also a type of music. The state of Kentucky has both. It also gave us one of the best songs ever: “Happy Birthday!” Two sisters wrote this song way back in 1893. One of the sisters, Mildred, was a teacher. She played the tune on the piano to welcome her kids to the classroom. Her sister Patty said “Hey, this is boring – let’s change the song’s words to celebrate birthdays!” Today there’s a sign celebrating the sisters. Strangely, this sign is on the same street as the world’s largest baseball bat! This bat is 120 feet long and weighs 34 tons. Whether it’s song or sport, Kentucky knows how to have a ball.
 
Wee ones: How many words are in the song line “Happy birthday to you!”?
 
Little kids: If “Happy Birthday” was written in 1893, has it celebrated its 100th birthday? Bonus: If the song Happy Birthday has 4 lines with 4 words in each line, how many total words do you sing?
 
Big kids: How many 3-foot baseball bats would you have to stack up to match the world-record 120-foot tall baseball bat? Bonus: How many years ago was the Happy Birthday song written? (Reminder: It was written in 1893.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Answers:
Wee ones: 4 words.
 
Little kids: Yes, it turned 100 years old in 1993. Bonus: 16 words.
 
Big kids: 40 3-foot bats, because 120 / 3 = 40. Bonus: 126 years ago, because 2019 – 1893 = 126. You can also “count up” the years: 7 years from 1893 to 1900, 100 years from 1900 to 2000, 19 years from 2000 to now; 7 + 100 + 19 = 126.
 
 
Tomorrow, we’ll take a birthday celebration to new heights! Learn how you can join our Road Trip here!

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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