The post Squirreling It Away appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Have you ever seen a squirrel skittering around with its cheeks full of food? Squirrels gather seeds and nuts and bury them underground to dig up later during winter, when it’s not so easy to find fresh food. Well, thanks to one forgetful squirrel long ago, scientists found a batch of 32,000-year-old seeds, and grew one into a plant! The seed had been buried by an Ice Age squirrel, and had stayed covered by over 100 feet of snow ever since. The cold kept the seeds from rotting, so when the scientists watered them, they grew into flowers. Squirrels forget 3 out of every 4 seeds they bury, leaving them to turn into plants someday. We’re glad our furry friends are so confused!

*Wee ones:* A seed can fit on the tip of your finger. Try to find 1 thing of that size in your room.

*Little kids:* If a squirrel can stuff 10 seeds into 1 cheek and 2 acorns into the other, how many yummy treats can she carry? *Bonus:* How many more seeds than acorns does she have?

*Big kids:* If a squirrel buries 16 acorns and finds only 1 out of each set of 4, how many does he dig up? *Bonus:* If he buries 60 acorns the next year, how many will he *forget*?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* Items might include a button or a tiny piece of Lego.

*Little kids:** *12 treats. *Bonus:* 8 more seeds than acorns.

*Big kids:** *4 acorns. *Bonus:* 45 acorns, since he’ll dig up only 15.

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]]>The post Number-Crushing Cupcake appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>First of all, today’s date is really cool: 12/06/2016. It uses only 4 digits! So it’s also a great day for the nice, neat math in one of our favorite snacks, the cupcake. Back in the 1800s, cupcakes were called “number cakes,” because the recipe used 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour, and 4 eggs (plus some milk and baking soda). The world’s largest cupcake crushed those numbers, though. Baked by Georgetown Cupcake in Washington, DC, it weighed 2,594 pounds. The recipe included 500 pounds of flour, 300 pounds of butter, and 100 pounds of cocoa powder, along with 200 *dozen* eggs! The question is, how many people did it take to eat it?

*Wee ones:* If your cupcakes use butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and milk, how many ingredients (foods) do they use?

*Little kids:* If you’re 4 feet tall and that cupcake is 3 feet tall, how much taller than the cupcake are you? *Bonus:* Which is longer, the distance around a cupcake, or the distance across it? Look at any circle to figure it out!

*Big kids:* If your recipe instead uses 2 cups of butter, twice as many cups of sugar, and twice as much flour as sugar, how many cups is that so far? *Bonus:* How many eggs are in 200 dozen, anyway?

*The sky’s the limit:* If 1 person can lift 100 pounds at most, how many people would it take to pick up this 2,594-pound cupcake?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 5 ingredients.

*Little kids:* Just 1 foot taller. *Bonus:* The distance around a cupcake is longer.

*Big kids:* 14 cups of ingredients, since you add in 4 cups of sugar and 8 cups of flour. *Bonus: *2,400 eggs.

*The sky’s the limit:* 26 people, since 25 people could lift only 2,500 pounds.

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]]>The post Way Too Big for the Bathtub appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>A rubber ducky is a great toy for bathtime — unless the duck is bigger than your whole house! What you see there is the world’s largest rubber ducky. It was built by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, who must have really loved his rubber ducky as a kid. He has made a whole bunch of giant ducks to float down the river in big cities. Each duck has more than 200 pieces of PVC (a type of plastic), which people sewed together. A fan inside fills the duck with air to poof it out. Even so, the ducks weigh more than 2,000 pounds, and the biggest one stands more than 100 feet tall. If they could make noise, that would be one loud quack.

*Wee ones:* A rubber ducky for your tub might be about the size of your fist (your closed hand). Find 2 things in your room that are about that size.

*Little kids:* If the giant duck quacks, then splashes, then wiggles, then quacks, then splashes…what does it do next? *Bonus:* If one of these giant ducks shows up in Pittsburgh on a Sunday and floats away 4 days later, on what day does it leave?

*Big kids:* The second-tallest duck is 59 feet tall. How much taller is the 100-foot duck? *Bonus:* A 2-story house is about 30 feet tall. How many of those would you have to stack to stand taller than the 100-foot duck?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* Answers might include a ball, a small stuffed animal, or a container of Playdoh.

*Little kids:* Wiggles. *Bonus:* On Thursday.

*Big kids:* 41 feet taller. *Bonus:* 4 houses, since 3 houses would reach only 90 feet total.

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]]>The post Invasion of the Nanodots appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>You would never guess that a bunch of tiny little metal balls could turn into mindblowing art. But as this video shows, when all those teeny balls are magnets, they stick together to make amazing shapes. They’re called Nanodots. First the hands make lots of hexagons, then stacks them to make an “octahedron” – a 3D shape with 8 faces (just like an octagon is a flat shape with 8 sides). The octahedron is just one of 5 cool chunky shapes you can make where every face is the same shape with all equal edges: it has 8 triangles. Then the hands make a dodecahedron, which has 12 pentagons as faces. Watch to see what else the Nanodots can make!

*Wee ones:* How many sides does a triangle have? Hold your hands together to make a triangle hole with your fingers and thumbs!

*Little kids:* How many sides does a pentagon have? *Bonus:* If you’ve made 10 of the 12 pentagons to make the dodecahedron, how many more do you need to make?

*Big kids:* Each triangle in the octahedron has 7 Nanodots in the longest row, with 6 Nanodots above that, 5 above that…all the way to 1. How many Nanodots does one triangle have in total? *Bonus:* The opening shows 3 octahedrons already made. How many triangle faces do they have altogether?

*The sky’s the limit:* If each octahedron face has 7 Nanodots on the edge, then 6 in the next row up, and so on, how many dots in that triangle aren’t on the edge? See if you can figure it out without counting them in the picture!

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* Make a triangle with your hands! It has 3 sides.

*Little kids:* 5 sides. *Bonus:* 2 more pentagons.

*Big kids:* 28 Nanodots. *Bonus:* 24 triangle faces.

*The sky’s the limit:* Just 10 Nanodots. Only the 4 middle dots in the row of 6, plus the 3 middle ones above that, 2 above that, and finally the last one (the middle dot in the row of 3).

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]]>The post Messed-up Pennies appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>A penny doesn’t seem very exciting, does it. It’s worth just 1 cent, and worse yet, it costs 2 cents to make one! But some pennies are worth a lot. Did you ever look closely at a coin and the 4-digit number stamped on it? That’s the year the coin was made. A little letter after it tells you where it was made (the city). In some years the machines in one city made the first few pennies wrong, with crooked letters or the wrong mix of metal. Once they fix the problem, there are just those few messed-up pennies, and suddenly those coins are special. As you see from this list, you can sell them for hundreds or even thousands of dollars! Next time you see a penny from one of these years, take a closer look. It might buy you a lot.

*Wee ones:* If you have 3 regular copper pennies and 1 special 1943 steel penny, how many do you have altogether?

*Little kids:* If you have what looks like 7 dimes, but a magnet picks up 2 of them (which means it’s a 1943 steel penny), how many real dimes do you have? *Bonus:* Dimes are worth 10 cents each. What are the 5 real dimes worth?

*Big kids:* On some 1955 pennies, the design shows double – but only on 24,000 of them. What is the face value of all those pennies in dollars? (Reminder: there are 100 pennies in a dollar.) *Bonus:* Because they’re so rare, collectors will pay up to $1,500 for just one of these pennies. If you have 2 of them, how much money would you get for them?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 4 pennies total.

*Little kids:* 5 dimes. *Bonus:* 50 cents.

*Big kids:* $240 dollars. *Bonus:* $3,000 total.

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]]>The post When Pets Get out of Jail appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Dogs and cats usually don’t get along — except when they’re partners in crime. Pet owner Matt Hirst always closed the kitchen door before leaving the house, to keep his dog and cat in there. But when he got home, he always found the door open, and Dexter and Gizmo running all over the house. So he planted a camera to watch them, and solved the mystery. The cat, had figured out how to open the door. The dog cheers him on, but the cat is the brains of the operation. He had to do some math to get the right height and angles. Watch the secret video to see how these furry friends did it!

*Wee ones:* What shape are the markings on the door?

*Little kids:* The cat and dog each have 4 paws. How many different pawprints can they make in total? *Bonus:* If the cat is 12 inches tall and the dog is just 1 inch taller, how tall is the dog?

*Big kids:* If the cat tries 4 times to open the door and takes 20 seconds each time, how many seconds does the cat spend trying to break out? *Bonus:** *If the dog were twice as tall as the cat, and stacked they could stand 42 inches tall, how tall would each one be?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* Rectangles.

*Little kids:* 8 pawprints. *Bonus:* 13 inches.

*Big kids:* 80 seconds, or 1 minute 20 seconds. *Bonus:* The cat would be 14 inches, and the dog would be 28 inches. If the dog is twice as tall, stacking the two is like stacking 3 cats who total 42.

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]]>The post The Best French Fries appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like French fries. Who doesn’t want to munch on a hot, crispy, salty stick of potato? But not all fries are equal: there’s always a best French fry out there. Every year the people at The Daily Meal taste-test fries at restaurants across America, and judges pick the 10 best ones. This year’s #1 fries come from Balthazar in New York. Then there’s a whole other list of fries with weird toppings, like green chili peppers, Chinese mustard sauce, and fried eggs. But if you like them plain, you can go for a long curly one: the longest fry in the world stretched 34 inches! That should be enough for dinner.

*Wee ones:* If you slice through a potato and look at the flat side you cut, what shape do you see?

*Little kids:* If you eat 3 fries with ketchup and 6 without, how many fries do you eat? *Bonus:* If you dip your 2^{nd} French fry in ketchup, then your 5^{th}, then your 8^{th}…which one do you dip next?

*Big kids:* You can cut about 25 fries from 1 potato. How many potatoes do you need to make 100 fries? *Bonus:* How much taller than that 34-inch French fry are you?

*The sky’s the limit:* If 8 potatoes make 200 fries, and 12 potatoes make 300 fries, and 20 potatoes make 500 fries…what’s the pattern, and how many fries do 44 potatoes make?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* An oval, or possibly a circle.

*Little kids:* 9 fries. *Bonus:* Your 11^{th} fry.

*Big kids:* 4 potatoes. *Bonus:* Different for everyone…find out your height in inches, then subtract 34.

*The sky’s the limit:* 1,100 fries. You take the number of potatoes, divide by 4 and tack on 2 zeros. Why? Because multiplying by 25 is like multiplying by 100 and then taking 1/4, since 25 is 1/4 of 100.

The post The Best French Fries appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>The post Watch Out for the Flying Guitars appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>You can make art out of just about anything. Sculptures made of clay, castles made of sand, bridges made of pretzel sticks and marshmallows. Well, as we see here at the Washington Convention Center, you can even use musical instruments and furniture. That circle at the top is made of 30 guitars. The blue ring has kayaks, a skinny type of boat, while the statues below have rings of bicycles and bar stools. Any time you repeat a shape to make a pattern, you’re making art using math. Just make sure you stick it really well to the ceiling.

*Wee ones:* How many kayaks does that blue sculpture have?

*Little kids:* If you made your own triangle sculpture of 3 bicycles, how many wheels would they have? *Bonus:* If at each corner you added a unicycle (which has just 1-wheel), now how many wheels do you have?

*Big kids:* If you strum the 1st of those 30 guitars, then every 4th guitar after that, will you strum that 1st guitar when you go around once? *Bonus:* Those are all 4-legged stools in that 26-stool statue. How many legs do they have in total?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 5 kayaks.

*Little kids:* 6 wheels. *Bonus:* 9 wheels, since you’ve added a wheel at each of 3 corners.

*Big kids:* Not quite – you’ll strum the 29th, then jump to the 3rd. *Bonus:* 104 stool legs.

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]]>The post Are There More Boys or Girls? appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Our fan Aliza W. just asked us a great question: are there more girls or boys in the world? It seems like it should be about even, right? But the math gets more exciting than that. At birth, more boys are born: for every 100 baby girls, there are 106 baby boys. If you look at people of all ages, though, it evens out to about 1 boy for every girl. That’s partly because women live longer than men. In fact, if you look only at people 65 years or older, there are only 3/4 as many men as women. Remember, though, that for any age the boys are *bigger* than the girls. So if the whole world did a giant tug of war, the boys would have a good chance at winning.

*Wee ones:* Do you have more girls than boys in your family, or more boys than girls? How many of each?

*Little kids:* If a boy swings on the monkey bars, then a girl, then a boy…does a girl or a boy go 6th? *Bonus:* If there are 7 kids on the jungle gym and there’s 1 more boy than girl, how many of each are there?

*Big kids:* If 106 boys and 100 girls line up for tug-of-war, how many kids would that be in total? *Bonus:* If 19 more boys show up, how many more girls do we need to have equal numbers of each?

*The sky’s the limit:* If 800 200-pound men do tug of war against 1,000 women, how much do the women have to weigh to match the men’s total weight?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* Different for everyone…count up your family!

*Little kids:* A girl goes 6^{th}. *Bonus:* 4 boys, 3 girls.

*Big kids:* 206 kids. *Bonus:* 25 girls.

*The sky’s the limit:* 160 pounds each, since the men weigh 160,000 total.

The post Are There More Boys or Girls? appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>The post Chickens Playing the Xylophone appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>The xylophone is such a fun way to make music. You hit bars of different lengths with a stick, and they ring to play notes. Turns out even chickens can do this. A Colorado farmer named Kris Garrett worried that her chickens were bored, spending all day just pecking at corn and at each other. So she stuck a xylophone on the wall in their yard to see what would happen. The chickens started pecking at the xylophone with their beaks, and found out that this sounded really great! As you can hear in this video, they play a pretty good song…if you listen carefully, it starts off sounding like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Of course, they call it “Kris Had a Jazzy Chick.”

*Wee ones:* How many colored bars does the xylophone have? Check out the picture!

*Little kids:* Which color bar is 2 to the left of the green one? *Bonus:* There are 11 chickens, but only 8 bars. If each chicken gets 1 bar to play, how many chickens have to wait their turn?

*Big kids:* If each of the 11 chickens pecks the xylophone twice, how many notes do they play? *Bonus:* If a song has 8 lines with 6 notes for each, and the chickens take turns in order playing them, how many chickens will get to play 1 more note than the rest?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 8 bars.

*Little kids:* Orange. *Bonus:* 3 chickens.

*Big kids:* 22 notes. *Bonus:* 4 chickens. They need to play 48 notes, so after each plays 4 notes, they will have played 44 so far, leaving 4 more.

The post Chickens Playing the Xylophone appeared first on Bedtime Math.

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