Bursting the Bubble Record

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.

Bursting the Bubble Record

July 7, 2014

One way to break a world record is to join a giant group of people who try to break it together. And one of the favorite “mass participation” records to break these days is the bubble-wrap record: What’s the biggest group of people who’ve popped bubble-wrap bubbles at the same time? Bubble wrap comes in clear plastic sheets with air between the two layers, which makes little round  bumps of air. Stores wrap these cushy sheets around the toys and gadgets they ship to you so your new toys won’t break. But bubble wrap is a great toy itself, because when you squeeze the bubbles they burst with this awesome popping sound. Stomp on a sheet with your feet, and even more will bubbles explode at once — training you to become a top contestant for the bubble-wrap-popping world record.

Wee ones: If you count as you pop 8 bubble-wrap bubbles, what numbers do you say?

Little kids: If you want to pop 10 bubbles total and you’ve popped 6 so far, how many more do you need to pop?  Bonus: Twin Lakes Elementary School in Minnesota, the current record holder, rounded up 942 bubble-poppers. If you had joined them too, then how big would the group have been?

Big kids: If you have 7 rows of bubble-wrap, with 6 bubbles in the odd-numbered rows and 5 in each even-numbered row, how many bubbles do you have handy to pop?  Bonus: If the 942 record-breaking students had each popped even just 20 bubbles, how many bubbles did they pop altogether? (Hint: You can break the math into 2 parts: how many if they’d each popped 10 bubbles?)




Wee ones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8!

Little kids: 4 more bubbles.  Bonus: 943 bubble-poppers.

Big kids: 39 bubbles: 24 in the 4 long rows and 15 in the 3 short rows.  Bonus: 18,840 bubbles!

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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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