Climbing the Mountain – Inside Out

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.

Climbing the Mountain – Inside Out

January 15, 2013

It’s pretty exciting to get on a roller coaster, tip over the top of a hill and plunge toward the ground at 30 miles an hour.  But it’s even more alarming to do this in the dark.  In 1975, Disney Parks opened Space Mountain, the famous roller coaster at Disney World in Orlando, FL. The entire ride spirals around the inside of the mountain, dark except for sparkly stars and some pulsing lights, which do nothing to help you see where you’re going.  So every twist, turn and plunge comes as a total surprise.  Clearly lots of daredevils love this kind of thrill: over the decades hundreds of thousands of visitors have ridden Space Mountain, leading Disney to build four more of them around the world.

Wee ones: There are 4 other Space Mountains at the other Disney parks around the world. How many Space Mountains are there now in total?

Little kids: If the Space Mountain ride has 12 drops and a sharp turn after 1/2 of those drops, how many twists are there?  Bonus: The train reaches a top speed of 28 miles per hour.  If the fastest you’ve ever fallen on a coaster is 18 miles per hour, how much faster would you go on Space Mountain?

Big kids: Space Mountain starts 180 feet off the ground – several times the height of a house.  If the first drop falls 35 feet, how high off the ground are you at the bottom of that drop?  Bonus: At the Magic Kingdom the ride takes 2 minutes 47 seconds.  If you spend a minute and 20 seconds of the ride screaming, for how much of the ride are you not screaming?




Wee ones: 5 Space Mountains in total.

Little kids: 6 screaming-sharp turns.  Bonus: 10 miles per hour faster.

Big kids: 145 feet up.  Bonus: 1 minute 27 seconds, or 87 seconds.

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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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