Extreme Refrigeration

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.

Extreme Refrigeration

January 20, 2013

The last week of January often marks the coldest week of the year, at least for the northern half of our planet.  We’ve been tilted away from the sun for weeks, we’ve had short days of sunlight, and in some places cloudy gray skies make matters worse.  So it’s no surprise that many states have had their coldest temperature ever in late January or early February.  When you see some of the records set over the decades, you might find that a bowl of ice cream at 3 degrees F could warm you up.

Wee ones: If your refrigerator keeps food at 38 degrees, and it’s 31 degrees outside where you are, which one is colder, the outside or your fridge?

Little kids: Temperatures can get so cold that they’re below zero.  Of the 48 contiguous U.S. states (the states that connect to each other), Montana has the coldest ever temperature of -70 degrees F, set on this day in 1954.  But of all 50 states, Alaska holds the coldest record, at -80 degrees F.  Who got colder, and by how many degrees?  Bonus: Of the 50 states (i.e. not counting D.C.), 23 have had their coldest temperature in January. How many states have had it some other month?

Big kids: Poor Utah had its coldest day ever and its hottest day both in 1985: -69 degrees on February 1, and +117 degrees on July 5.  How many degrees apart were their two worst days ever? (Hint: you have to put together the gap from -69 to 0, and 0 to 117…)  Bonus: How many days apart were those two days?





Wee ones: The outside is colder than your fridge.

Little kids: Alaska got colder by 10 degrees F.  Bonus: 27 states.

Big kids: A 186-degree spread!  Bonus: Just 154 days, in over a century of temperature recordkeeping.  It took 28 days to get to March 1, then 31, 30, 31 and 30 to get to July 1, then another 4 days.

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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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