The post City of Surprises appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Our story about wacky Accident, Maryland has led to some great new questions about towns. Tanisha T. just told us about another surprise town name — and that’s what it’s called! Surprise, Arizona was founded in 1938 by Flora Mae Stetler, who said she’d be “surprised” if that tiny spot in the desert ever became a real town. Well, today more than 115,000 people live there! Meanwhile, our friends at Mulroy Tech Hub in Denver asked, what makes a city a city? Well, it’s all about the math: a city is any town that has at least 2,500 people. Denver and Surprise count as cities, but how about where you live? Do the math to find out!

*Wee ones:* A town has lots of smaller places: people’s homes. How many people live in your home? Count them up — and remember to count yourself!

*Little kids:* When the first 5 people joined Flora Mae in Surprise, Arizona, how many people did it have then? *Bonus:* If a place needs at least 2,500 people to be a city, does a place with 3,000 people count as a city?

*Big kids:* How about a place with 800 people? Does that count as a city? (A city has at least 2,500 people.) *Bonus:* San Jose, California has about 1 million (1,000,000) people. How many smallest possible cities could you carve out of it at most? (Hint if needed: How many people do 4 cities of 2,500 each have?)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* Different for everyone…count up the people living in your home!

*Little kids:* 6 people. *Bonus:* Yes! 3,000 is more than 2,500.

*Big kids:* No, 800 is less than 1,000, so it has to be less than 2,500. *Bonus:* 400 little cities! 4 cities would have 10,000 people, so 40 cities would have 100,000, and therefore 400 cities would have 1,000,000 people.

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]]>The post In Case You Got No Snow… appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>When we hear a giant snowstorm is coming, we get really excited to stay home from school and play in the snow. But sometimes the weather forecasters don’t know where that storm will go. That happened a couple of years ago, when a big storm changed direction, and some places got no snow at all — a big bummer for the kids. So one very nice grandpa fixed the problem. Allen Queen’s granddaughter Sophia got no snow in Maryland, but up in Rhode Island he’d gotten 18 inches of it. So he filled his truck with hundreds of pounds of snow, drove the load down to Maryland that Thursday, and built a snowman with her. Problem solved!

*Wee ones:* Some snowmen are made by stacking balls of snow on top of bigger ones. Find 3 things in your room, and line them up from smallest to biggest.

*Little kids:* If the snowstorm was supposed to come Monday and Grandpa showed up on Thursday, which days did Sophia wait for snow? *Bonus:* If they piled up 10 pounds of snow to make a snowman, and used the first 5 pounds of it to make the bottom snowball, how many pounds were left for the rest?

*Big kids:* If the snow fell 6 miles from the sky, then traveled 375 miles from Rhode Island to Maryland, how far did the snow travel in total? *Bonus:* If Grandpa brought 600 pounds of snow, and of that snow they used 5 times as much snow to make an igloo as they did to build a snowman, how much did they use on each?

*The sky’s the limit:* A cubic foot of snow (meaning a chunk that’s 1 foot wide, 1 foot long and 1 foot tall) can weigh a lot, depending on how fluffy it is. If the packed snow weighed 10 pounds per cubic foot, and the truck bed was 10 feet long, 6 feet wide and 3 feet tall, how many pounds of snow could Grandpa have packed in there?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* Different for everyone…try lining up a book, a shoe, and a stuffed animal, for example.

*Little kids:* Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. *Bonus:* 5 pounds.

*Big kids:* 381 miles. *Bonus:* 500 pounds for the igloo, 100 pounds for the snowman.

*The sky’s the limit:* 1,800 pounds! since the truck bed would hold 180 cubic feet.

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]]>The post Smiley Face in Space appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>When we look up at the stars, sometimes we see connect-the-dot clumps called constellations. Leo the Lion looks like a backwards question mark (his mane) with a triangle body, and the hunter Orion has a nice neat belt of 3 stars. A “telescope” helps you see much, much farther, the same way binoculars work, so it lets you see many more stars. So there was a “Hidden Treasures” contest to spot cool shapes in star photos from the Hubble Space Telescope, which floats high above Earth’s air. One skygazer, Judy Schmidt, spotted this great smiley face. Those bright eyes aren’t single stars — they are clusters of whole *galaxies*, each of which could hold millions of stars. The streaks come from stars moving while the telescope snapped the picture, giving us a perfect smile.

*Wee ones:* If you count the eyes and nose of the face, how many “dots” are you counting?

*Little kids:* If a smiley face had 2 star eyes, a star nose, and a 3-star mouth, how many stars would the face have? *Bonus:* How many stars would 2 faces have?

*Big kids:* If Judy found this in the 200th photo she studied, how many photos had she already searched? *Bonus:* If you drew a circle around every 5 stars to make a smiley face, how many faces would you find in a picture of 150 stars?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 3 dots.

*Little kids:* 6 stars. *Bonus:* 12 stars.

*Big kids:* 199 photos. *Bonus:* 30 faces.

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]]>The post How to Mail a Coconut appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>When you’re eating a yummy snack and wish you could share it with a friend, wouldn’t it be great if you could just slap a stamp on it and stick it in the mail? It turns out you can, with one food: coconut. On the small Hawaiian island of Molokai, the Hoolehua Post Office gives out free coconuts for people to ship to their friends. No box, no envelope — you just stick a stamp onto the coconut. The “Post-a-Nut” postage costs between $9-13 depending on the coconut’s weight: If you shake a coconut and hear juice sloshing around inside, that means it’s still fresh enough to eat — but it will weigh more since it hasn’t dried out. For a fresh coconut snack, it’s totally worth it.

*Wee ones:* If you mail a coconut to each of 2 friends and grab one for yourself, how many coconuts do you get?

*Little kids:* If you could ship a coconut for $10 and a watermelon for twice as much, how much would it cost to ship the watermelon? *Bonus:* How much do you pay to ship both?

*Big kids:* 7,000 people live on Molokai. If each one sends a coconut to 3 friends, how many coconuts get shipped out? *Bonus:* If out of 400 nearby trees, 1/2 the trees grow 10 coconuts each while 1/2 grow 20 each, how many coconuts can the post office mail?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 3 coconuts.

*Little kids:* $20. *Bonus: *$30.

*Big kids:* 21,000 coconuts. *Bonus:* 6,000 coconuts: 2,000 from the first 1/2, and 4,000 from the 2nd set.

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]]>The post Chick-Tac-Toe appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Have you ever played tic-tac-toe? You and another player fill in Xs and Os on a grid of 9 little squares, and the first person to fill in 3 Xs or Os in a straight line wins. Both kids and grown-ups can play it — and apparently chickens, too. For years a store in Chinatown in New York City had live chickens who played tic-tac-toe by pecking at a tic-tac-toe board on a table. They’d play against people, and the chickens often won! It turned out the chicks were getting some help: they were trained to peck at a spot of light, which a hidden person would shine on the best square. Even so, when those chickens won, they probably felt pretty proud.

*Wee ones:* If you watch 4 chickens play tic-tac-toe, what numbers do you say to count them?

*Little kids:* If you win your 1st game against the chicken, then the chicken wins twice, then you win twice, who has won more games? *Bonus:* If you’re playing tic-tac-toe against a chicken, and you’ve put an O and the chicken has pecked an X, how many of the 9 squares are still empty?

*Big kids:* If there are 5 chickens and each plays 8 games, how many tic-tac-toe games have they played? *Bonus:* If a chicken wins only every 4th game starting with the 4th, how does it do on the 34th game?

*The sky’s the limit:* If the chickens play 40 games and win 26 of them, then play 10 more and you win all 10 of those games, have the chickens still won at least half their games?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 1, 2, 3, 4.

*Little kids:* You have won more, since you’ve won 3 and the chicken has won 2. *Bonus:* 7 squares.

*Big kids:* 40 games. *Bonus:* The chicken loses, since 34 isn’t a multiple of 4.

*The sky’s the limit:* Yes! The chickens have still won 26 out of 50 games.

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]]>The post Big Burst of Bunnies appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Bunnies are really cute, except when they take over your whole town. In South Fargo, North Dakota, big fluffy jackrabbits the size of small dogs showed up a couple of years ago, and had baby bunnies and more baby bunnies so fast that bunnies showed up everywhere. A woman in this video said that every morning she woke up to see 40-50 of them in her backyard! Why did this happen? In one year a mama jackrabbit can have babies 4 times, with up to 9 baby bunnies in each litter. And if the bunnies have no “predators” — animals who want to eat them — there’s nothing stopping the hopping.

*Wee ones:* How many bunnies can you count in the photo?

*Little kids:* If you see 5 bunnies in your driveway, how many ears do they have? *Bonus:* If the woman sees 8 bunnies under her picnic table, and 1 hops away, then another, then another, what numbers would you say to count down the number of bunnies left?

*Big kids:* If a mama bunny can have 4 litters of babies with 9 bunnies in each, how many bunnies does she have that year? *Bonus:* How many babies would 100 mama bunnies have that year?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 9 bunnies.

*Little kids:* 10 ears. *Bonus:* 7 bunnies, then 6, then 5.

*Big kids:* 36 babies. *Bonus:* 3,600 baby bunnies!

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]]>The post Candy That Counts appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Today is Valentine’s Day, and there’s candy everywhere — including those tiny sugar hearts with words printed on them. The idea is almost as old as love itself. Back in the 1700s American colonists would scratch messages like “Be Mine” onto candy to give to their sweethearts. But in 1860 the New England Confectionery Company figured out how to print them with a machine, making zillions of hearts at once. NECCO makes about 8 *billion *candy hearts every year, using the same recipe and machines from over 100 years ago. The question is, which love message shows up the most often?

*Wee ones:* How many purple candy hearts can you count in the photo?

*Little kids:* How many letters does a “Be Mine” heart have on it? *Bonus:* How many more or fewer letters would a heart with your first name on it have?

*Big kids:* If NECCO makes 8 billion candy hearts every year, how many have been made since you were born? *Bonus:* If NECCO made 100,000 pounds of hearts today and you ate 1 pound all yourself, how many pounds does that leave for everyone else?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 2 purple hearts.

*Little kids:* 6 letters. *Bonus:* Different for everyone…subtract 6 from the number of letters in your name, or subtract that number from 6.

*Big kids:* Different for everyone…take your age in years and multiply by 8, then tack on 9 zeros, or the word “billion”! *Bonus:* 99,999 pounds.

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]]>The post Starting a Town by Accident appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>We love hearing about towns with silly names, and our fan Scott S. just told us about one we didn’t know: Accident, Maryland. How did it get its name? Apparently back in 1774, Lord Baltimore (for whom the big city is named) told people they could move onto his land in western Maryland. Two guys named William Deakins and Brook Beall headed to a certain creek, and started marking off the space they wanted — only to find out that they’d grabbed the same land “by accident.” They were buddies, so they didn’t fight over it — Deakins let Beall take the land. But it also turned out to be only 682 acres, not the 778 that Beall was supposed to get. So there was a math accident in there, too!

*Wee ones:* The town of Accident is roughly a rectangle. Can you find 2 things in your room that are rectangles?

*Little kids:* If there are 5 trees on your street block, and you pick out one for your treehouse, how many trees are left for other kids? *Bonus:* If you start building your treehouse on a Tuesday and finish 3 days later, when do you finish?

*Big kids:* If there are 24 trees in the park, and 10 kids come along and each picks a tree for a treehouse…then 18 more kids pick trees, at least how many “accidents” of picking the same tree have to happen? *Bonus:* The Accident accident happened in 1774. How long ago was that before the year 2017, when we heard about it here?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* Answers might include a shoebox, a book cover, a door, or the front of a dresser drawer.

*Little kids:* 4 trees. *Bonus:* On Friday.

*Big kids:* At least 4 accidents. *Bonus:* 243 years before.

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]]>The post Revenge of the Restaurant appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Dinner is exciting when you’re hungry — but it can get a lot more exciting if you eat at any of the strangest restaurants in America. There was a restaurant decorated like a bathroom, where you sit on a toilet to eat (shown here). If that doesn’t sound good to you, other people agree, because it did go out of business. But you can still go to Harvey Washbangers, where you can do your laundry while you eat, and a giant board shows when your clothes have finished. You can eat with spies at the Safe House, or try Ninja New York, where your meal is served by ninjas who yell, wave swords, and do backflips. In all cases, your meal might be the least exciting part!

*Wee ones:* How many toilets can you count in the photo?

*Little kids:* If 3 ninjas take turns bringing you dishes in the same repeating order, and you order 5 dishes, how many times at most can any one ninja serve you? *Bonus:* If 10 ninjas work there and every other one can do backflips, how many backflipping ninjas are there?

*Big kids:* If at Harvey Washbangers it takes 32 minutes to wash your clothes and 25 to dry them, do you have a whole hour to eat dinner? *Bonus:* At Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant, your food is brought to you by a toy train on tracks above your head. If the train comes by every 12 minutes, how many times can it come by at most in 80 minutes?

*The sky’s the limit:* If you want to try eating in a bathroom, a laundromat, a ninja cave and a spy cave, in how many orders can you try those 4 restaurants?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 4 toilets.

*Little kids:* 2 times at most. *Bonus:* 5 ninjas.

*Big kids:* Not quite, as that will all take just 57 minutes. *Bonus:* 7 trips. If it comes at every multiple of 12 (12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72), that gives you 6 trips…but if the train first visits at minute 1 and then 1 minute later than each of these times, it will fit 7 trips.

*The sky’s the limit:* 24 orders. If the restaurants are B, L, N, S, you have 4 choices for your first meal. Once you go there, you have only 3 choices for your 2nd meal for each of those 4 1st choices, giving you 4 x 3 pairs. Then for your 3rd meal, you have only 2 choices left for any of your first 12 pairs. After that, there’s always only one choice left. That gives you 4x3x2x1 = 24. If you want to see the choices, they are BLNS, BLSN, BNLS, BNSL, BSLN, BSNL, giving 6 orders that start with the bathroom…then repeat this for each of the other 3 restaurants as your first!

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]]>The post One Tough Tortoise appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Tortoises are pretty tough. They can live over 200 years, and can go 2 to 3 years without even eating! Even so, a family in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was shocked when in their backyard shed they found their lost pet tortoise from 30 years ago, still alive and well. Manuela got lost one day when movers left the family’s front door open, and Manuela must have wandered out. How did she live for so long without help? She probably ate termites and other bugs, and drank water by licking “condensation” (the water droplets that show up on cold surfaces) off things in the shed. Manuela is a tough nut, but we bet she’s happy to be back in the house.

*Wee ones:* If you could last for 2 years without eating and you start now, how old will you be when you eat again?

*Little kids:* If Manuela is 50 years old right now, how old will she be a year from now? *Bonus:* If instead Manuela went missing 30 years and that was half her life, how old is she now?

*Big kids:* If you have a pet dog and a pet tortoise who’s 100 years older, and together their ages add up to 120, how old is each one? *Bonus:* If instead you have a pet tortoise who’s 12 times as old as you, how old is your tortoise?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* Different for everyone…add 2 to your age!

*Little kids:* 51 years old. *Bonus:* 60 years old.

*Big kids:* The dog is 10 years old and the tortoise is 110. *Bonus:* Different for everyone…multiply your age by 12!

The post One Tough Tortoise appeared first on Bedtime Math.

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