The post Speed Stroller appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>You might not remember being pushed around in a stroller when you were 1 year old. But even so, you’re probably pretty sure the stroller didn’t have a gas-fueled engine driving it at the speed of a car. A guy who likes to try to break world records decided to build the world’s fastest baby carriage – in 2006 he built the world’s biggest bonfire, but that wasn’t exciting enough. Colin Furze took a baby stroller, strapped on a motorcycle motor and a sports bottle filled with gasoline, and boom, that stroller drives as fast as 53 miles an hour! He also had to bolt a piece of metal to the bottom to keep the stroller heavy and low so it doesn’t go flying. Colin does have a baby son, Jake, but doesn’t let him or any other baby ride in this crazy vehicle. It’s fine for stuffed animals, though.

*Wee ones:* If a stroller has 3 wheels and a car has 4, which has more?

*Little kids:* If you put 3 teddy bears, 4 stuffed animal bunnies and a live puppy in the carriage, how many passengers are riding in there? *Bonus:* Colin started building the stroller in 2012 when his son was born. How old is his son now? (We’re now in the year 2014.)

*Big kids:* If you can normally skateboard at 21 miles per hour, but with a motorcycle engine you can go double that speed, how fast is your skateboard now? *Bonus:* If you wanted to reach the speed limit of 55 miles per hour, how much faster would your engine-powered skateboard have to be?

*The sky’s the limit:* If your 53 mile-per-hour stroller gets on the highway with cars driving 60 miles per hour, how much farther will those cars drive after 3 hours?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* The car.

*Little kids:* 8 passengers. *Bonus:* 2 years old.

*Big kids:* 42 miles per hour. *Bonus:* 13 miles per hour faster.

*The sky’s the limit:* 21 miles ahead of you, since the cars will drive 7 more miles than you each hour.

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]]>The post Leaf Explosion appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>When you fling yourself into a pile of leaves, do you ever wonder how many leaves are in there? Or how many leaves are on one tree? If “zillions” were a real number, that’s what we’d say, but we can do better than that. For a pile, you could fill a bucket with leaves and count what you catch, then figure out how many buckets of leaves that pile holds. But what about a whole tree, with branches 60 feet overhead? You could guess the number of twigs, and the number of leaves on each, and multiply. Some folks tried another angle: how many landed under the tree? They spread leaves on a dinner plate and counted them, then figured out the area under the tree, and the number of plates that covered. Of course, the wind had probably blown some leaves away, but they calculated almost 2 million leaves from that 1 tree. So if your town has 500 trees, that’s 1 billion leaves…it might not take too many towns to get to a zillion.

*Wee ones:* If on your street block there’s a maple tree, an oak, a birch, a beech and an elm, how many leafy trees is that?

*Little kids:* If a tree trunk forks into 2 branches, and each of those forks into 2 smaller branches, and each of those forks into 2…how many branches are there at the ends? *Bonus:* If you run 9 feet to dive into your leaf pile, then run back to the starting line, how far did you walk in total?

*Big kids:* If you can rake 5,000 leaves in an hour, how big a pile can you rake together in 4 hours? *Bonus:* What if you can rake that many in just 20 minutes? (Hint if needed: An hour has 60 minutes.)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 5 trees.

*Little kids:* 8 branches. *Bonus:* 18 feet.

*Big kids:* 20,000 leaves. *Bonus:* 60,000 leaves, since you’re raking 3 times as many per hour.

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]]>The post Fly Your Way Across the USA (Without Leaving Home) appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>My husband and I immigrated to the United States from our home countries as adults. We make a point to raise our daughter with awareness of her heritage and with a passion for learning about other countries and cultures. At eight years-old, she’s already a seasoned traveler, even though she doesn’t enjoy flying. Still, she braves the planes every year for her favorite route – from San Francisco to New York, so we can visit my parents in New Jersey. In honor of Geography Awareness Week, we flew that route in our backyard.

I’m going to show how we flew across the country, so you can do the same in your yard or at a local park with this fun map scale activity.

- * Map of the United States
- * Ruler
- * Pencil
- * Strips of paper
- * Stakes or something you can stick in the ground like croquet gates
- * Sheets of paper

- Take your map and mark a relatively straight path between several major US cities. Measure the distances between major cities with a ruler (rounding up a little) and put them on the map. How many inches is the full trip across the USA based on your route?
- Print the names of the cities on the strips of paper.
- Attach the strips to the stakes.

Setting up the field means scaling your yard to the size of the United States. It presents quite an opportunity for your kids to use their math skills. Depending on their age and their fluency with math, your kids will likely need help to do this.

You can see my daughter at work in the image above. First she put one marker in on the far side of the lawn and measured the distance in inches to the other end of our backyard lawn. The length was 387 inches.

Then she used this measurement to calculate where she needed to place the markers for her cities using the map as a reference. To find the scale, take the length of your backyard and divide it by the distance on your paper map. In our case, the distance on the map was 8.5 inches. To scale it, we divided 387 by 8.5, which equals 46 inches of backyard to every inch on the paper map.

My daughter has not yet learned how to divide with decimals but, interestingly, she came up with her own workaround. She multiplied the map inches by 2, resulting in a total of she could divide by, 17 inches. So she divided our 387-inch yard by 17, ½ -inch units. Then she used her scale (23 inches of the yard to every ½ inch of the paper map) to calculate her distances.

Thus the 3 inches from San Francisco to Denver on the map became 138 inches in the yard and so on across the USA.

**Place your stakes and you’re ready to play!**

The fun has just started! Now kids can make different airplane models and see if any of them can fly across the United States without ground connections. At times our planes completely veered off course and ended up in “Canada” or “Mexico” instead of flying straight.

My daughter has big plans for complicated game involving charts and point systems for the next time we play this game–perhaps during a playdate…

- * A plane ticket cost just $5 in the 1920s.
- * An average of 61,000 people are airborne over US at any given hour.
- * The longest recorded paper airplane flight was 27.6 seconds.
- * If a regular airplane could fly from Earth to the Sun, the trip would take 20 years.

For more geography fun, check out our November printable activity pages!

*Images courtesy of Natalie*

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]]>The post Fibonacci Day! appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>One of the most fun things about numbers is the patterns they make. You can say, “OK, my pattern is 1, 4, 7, 10…” and then your friend can guess the next number is 13 because you keep adding 3. Or you can say “1, 3, 9, 27…” what’s next? One of the most interesting patterns out there is the Fibonacci series: you start with 0,1, and each number is always the last two numbers added together, So 0+1 gives us 1, and then 1+1 is 2. Then you add 1+2 to get 3. Then 2+3 makes 5. Then you get 8, 13, 21, 34…and so on. That’s why today is Fibonacci Day, because the date is 11/23 (1-1-2-3). We celebrate Fibonacci numbers because lots of objects in nature grow in shapes driven by them. Snail shells spiral around these numbers, as you see in this picture, and the seeds in the middle of a sunflower, and even the hair on your head! As we’ll see, today isn’t the only good day to celebrate these cool numbers.

*Wee ones:* Can you remember the set of numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8? See if you can say it back!

*Little kids:* Which is bigger, the jump from 3 to 5, or the jump from 5 to 8? *Bonus:* What’s the next number in this pattern: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9…?

*Big kids:* What’s the next Fibonacci number after 34? *Bonus:* For any Fibonacci number from 3 onward, which is bigger, 2 times that number, or the next Fibonacci number?

*The sky’s the limit:* If we look at just the single-digit Fibonacci numbers, how many dates this year had some set of consecutive Fibonacci numbers in the right order? (Just look at month and day, and in that order.)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* Try to repeat 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8!

*Little kids:* The jump from 5 to 8. The jumps keep getting bigger. *Bonus:* 11, because you’re adding 2.

*Big kids:* 55. *Bonus:* Doubling a Fibonacci number will always give you a bigger number than the next Fibonacci number. Since each number is added to the one before it to make the next one, and since the one before it is always smaller, your new number can’t be fully double the most recent number. 5 has to get added to 3 to make 8, so that’s less than 2×5 (10). And 8 has to get added to 5 to make 13, which is less than 16. As the numbers get really big, each number is about 1.6 times the previous number.

*The sky’s the limit:* 10 dates: 1/1, 1/2, 1/12, 1/23, 2/3, 3/5, 5/8, 11/2, 11/23, and 12/3. By the way, in the year 2058 we’ll get to have the awesome date 11/23/58!

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]]>The post Berries on the Run appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>When you buy a banana, zucchini or tomato at the grocery store, it just pops from the shelf into your shopping bag. But that fruit or veggie may have already traveled thousands of miles to reach you! To find out how far, two National Geographic reporters decided to follow one box of strawberries from the time it was picked to the time it was bought in a store. On May 5, 590 trucks were loaded up at Driscoll’s, a giant berry farm in Watsonville, CA. Each little box we buy holds 1 pound of berries; with 8 boxes in a case, 108 cases on a “pallet” (flat wooden square), and 26 pallets on a truck, that means the trucks took away 20 million berries that day. The Nat Geo guys followed one truck headed to Washington, DC, driven by 2 drivers who took turns sleeping. They made stops all along the way, with the last boxes reaching DC in just 80 hours. So remember, that strawberry you’re nibbling on has had some exciting travels.

*Wee ones:* If you nibble on 6 strawberries, then just have to eat 1 more, how many have you had?

*Little kids:* Which has traveled farther, a tomato from 800 miles away, or a banana from 1,000 miles away? *Bonus:* If 1 truck driver sleeps from 9 am until 6 pm, how many hours does his buddy have to do the driving?

*Big kids:* If the trip across the US is normally 2,900 miles, but the truck’s zigzagging added 400 miles, how far did those strawberries travel? *Bonus:* How many days and hours is an 80-hour trip? (Reminder: A day has 24 hours.)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 7 strawberries.

*Little kids:* The banana. *Bonus:* 9 hours.

*Big kids:* 3,300 miles. *Bonus:* 3 days 8 hours.

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]]>The post Climbing to Infinity appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>If you love climbing, do we have the jungle gym for you. It’s the new Infinity Climber at Liberty Science Center. “Infinity” is a math word: it means “forever” or “endlessness,” as opposed to a number that stops, like 100,000,000,000,000,000. No matter how big a number you imagine, you can always add 1 and get a *bigger* number, so we need the idea of infinity to get past all that. The Infinity Climber doesn’t go on forever, but it does have 19 *miles* of wire stretching around those steel pipes, making 64 flower-petal shapes that together weigh 21,000 pounds! Best of all, 50 people can climb on it at the same time.

*Wee ones:* If you lie across a 7-foot-long petal, who’s longer, you or the petal? What does 7 feet look like on the floor?

*Little kids:* If you climb on 10 miles of the 19 miles of wire, how many more miles of wire do you have left to climb? *Bonus:* If you’ve scrambled across all but 1 of the 64 petal shapes, how many have you climbed on so far?

*Big kids:* The climber itself is 19 feet tall, but it’s attached to the wall 16 feet up off the ground. How high off the ground do you get if you climb to the top? *Bonus:* If people can climb for 20 minutes and you’ve been on there for 14 minutes 23 seconds, how much time do you have left to climb?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* The petal. If you have a measuring tape, see what 7 feet looks like compared to you!

*Little kids:* 9 more miles. *Bonus:* 63 petals.

*Big kids:* 35 feet high. *Bonus:* 5 minutes 37 seconds.

And a reminder that as a Bedtime Math fan, **you** can visit LSC and climb this crazy thing for $3 off per person – click here for the coupon. And if you’re in the New Jersey/New York City area **tomorrow, Saturday 11/22**, you can watch tightrope stuntman Nik Wallenda do the first climb, and take your photo with him!

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]]>The post Party Time in Space appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Riding a rocket must be incredibly exciting. But it must be even better to zoom on a rocket up to the International Space Station and stay there. The station, which first went into space on this day in 1998, is the biggest space structure ever built by humans (we can’t rule out aliens in other galaxies). It’s like a 357-foot-long building floating above us, about the length of a football field (and the giant Times Square billboard from Tuesday night). The ISS was built up in space, and it took 5 kinds of rockets more than 115 flights up there to bring all the parts. Scientists on the ISS do experiments to see how things grow and live in zero gravity, and to study the skies around us. The ISS sails about 268 miles above our heads and takes just 90 minutes to whiz around Earth once. You can find out here when it’s going to fly overhead so you can see it — and if that happens to be tonight, you can yell Happy Birthday.

*Wee ones:* If the space station has 5 astronauts on board including you, what numbers would you say to count the rest of them?

*Little kids:* Crew members spend 6 months on the ISS. If someone’s been there for 5 months, in what month does he or she have to fly back down here? (Assume we’re still in November.) *Bonus: *There have been 174 spacewalks on the ISS so the astronauts can fix outside parts. What number will the next one be?

*Big kids:* If the ISS is going to fly over your head 45 minutes from now, how long ago did it pass overhead? *Bonus:* How many full orbits does the ISS fly in 1 day (24 hours)?

*The sky’s the limit:* If the station passes overhead every 90 minutes, and you circle Earth in your own rocket every 2 hours on the same path, how many chances do you get each day to connect with the station and visit them? Assume you both start over your house at the start of the day (and don’t count that as a “chance”).

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 1, 2, 3, and 4…because you’re the 5th!

*Little kids:* December. *Bonus:* 175.

*Big kids:* 45 minutes ago. *Bonus:* 16 full orbits.

*The sky’s the limit:* The station will pass you (since it’s the faster one) 4 times, since it’s going around 16 times and you’re going around just 12 times. Another way of thinking of it: the station does 4 laps for each of your 3, and that means every 6 hours you’ll meet over your house. You won’t happen to cross over any other point on Earth.

And you can click here to get more daily math!

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]]>The post Fibonacci Day LEGO Garden appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Did you know that November 23 is a Fibonacci Day? Why? Because 11-23* (1, 1, 2, 3) are the first numbers in the famous Fibonacci sequence. Fibonacci sequence starts with 0 and 1, and then every next number is the sum of two previous numbers (0, **1, 1, 2, 3**, 5, 8, 13…). Interestingly, Fibonacci didn’t invent this sequence, but he introduced it to medieval Europe in 1202 in his book *Liber Abaci*. More importantly, he introduced Arabic numerals, the numbers we use today, in the same book. We celebrated Fibonacci Day by making a Fibonacci LEGO Build together.

This idea came to me as my daughter said that she wanted to build a garden with her LEGO Friends set. I thought of the LEGO fences that we recently picked up in our local LEGO store from the *Pick-a-Brick* wall. If you are not lucky enough to live near a LEGO store, LEGO has an online *Pick-a-Brick* at which you can buy individual pieces as desired. I experimented a little and saw that we could build a nice LEGO garden with 13 LEGO fence pieces. Thus, the idea of Fibonacci LEGO Garden was born.

I handed over 13 LEGO fences and together we discussed pieces needed for our LEGO garden:

We had 1 LEGO plate, 1 LEGO mini figure, 2 LEGO animals, 3 pieces for the garden gate (a small cheat here as we didn’t have custom gate posts and we built them from several 1×1 pieces), 5 flower clusters, 8 brown 2×2 pieces for tree trunks, 13 fence pieces, 21 various green pieces for trees, 34 white 1×1 pieces for fence posts (2 per post and a few left for a bench in the garden) and 55 multicolor “LEGO dots” for flowers and other accessories. My girl loves those small dots to decorate and help fill small spaces when we load up a pick-a-brick bucket!

You can choose the pieces that work best for you. Just remember to keep with the sequence!

Now build your garden from your imagination. Our design turned out lovely. My daughter wants to make another Fibonacci build, something with 8 wheels next.

- * Real name of Fibonacci is Leonardo Pisano (Leonardo from Pisa)
- * Fibonacci illustrated the nature of this sequence by introducing a pair of rabbits that grew to maturity and produced another pair of rabbits each month after 2 months of life. If no rabbits died, how many pairs of rabbits would there be after 12 months?
- * You can find Fibonacci series in nature proving that math is not a man-made construct

To introduce more Fibonacci fun to your family, bake up a batch of these cookies.

*May 8, 2013 (5-8-13) was also a big day for Fibonacci fans!

*Images courtesy of Natalie*

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]]>The post Sheep Parade appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>If you’re reading this at bedtime, what better way to fall asleep than to count sheep — and better yet, a whole parade of them? Ever since the year 1273, Spanish shepherds have “migrated” (moved) their sheep from northern Spain to the warmer, sunnier southern parts for winter. For centuries the farmers have used the exact same 78,000 miles of paths, which run right through the giant city of Madrid. On November 2 nearly 1 million sheep walked past cafes, clothing stores and other places sheep don’t normally go. The shepherds pay a small coin to City Hall to parade through, and the sheep get to see all the great wool sweaters they’ve helped make.

*Wee ones:* If a sheep has 4 legs and you have 2, who has more?

*Little kids:* If the shepherds herded 600,000 sheep and 100,000 cows, how many animals was that in total? *Bonus: *The sheep marched through on November 2. How many days ago was that? (Today is Nov. 19.)

*Big kids:* If the sheep walked 12 miles of Madrid streets and saw 10 shops per mile, how many shops did the sheep see? *Bonus:* Spain is about 700 miles tall from north to south. If a sheep has to walk just half that distance, how far does it walk?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* The sheep.

*Little kids:* 700,000 animals. *Bonus:* 17 days ago.

*Big kids:* 120 shops. *Bonus:* 350 miles.

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]]>The post Sign of the Times (Square) appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Times Square, a stretch of blocks in the middle of New York City, is famous for signs so bright that even at night the streets are as bright as daylight. These signs, or billboards, usually show ads telling you to buy some kind of clothing or toy. Well, tonight the biggest billboard ever built will light up in Times Square: it’s over 8 stories tall and is almost as long as a football field! It stretches a whole street block, from 45th St. to 46th St. The pictures on it will look super-sharp since the sign holds 24 *million* tiny lights called LEDs. And since it’s so easy to see and so special, it’s also the most expensive billboard ever: companies have to pay $2.5 million dollars to show their ad on it for 4 weeks. The movie company Universal is the first user, which may be why Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Elmo are hanging out in front of it. If you want to join them and see this sign, be sure to bring your sunglasses.

*Wee ones:* Which is taller, this 8-story-tall sign or a 2-story house?

*Little kids:* If this sign is 8 stories tall and your home is 2 stories tall, how many stories taller is this sign? *Bonus:* If instead the sign stretched for 2 blocks from 45th Street, with a tunnel through it for cars, at what street would it end?

*Big kids:* Every day about 300,000 people walk through Times Square. If they’re new people every day, how many people walk through in 1 week? *Bonus:* In New York, about 20 street blocks equal 1 mile. If a mile is about 5,000 feet, about how long is a street block – and this sign?

*The sky’s the limit:* If there are 6 times as many LEDs going across the sign as there are running up and down, how many LEDs wide and tall is the sign?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* The sign – by a lot!

*Little kids:* 6 stories taller. *Bonus:* At 47th Street.

*Big kids:* 2,100,000 (2 million, 100 thousand). *Bonus:* 250 feet.

*The sky’s the limit:* You need 2 numbers that multiply to 24 million. Since 1 million is a thousand thousands, you simply need 2 numbers in the thousands where their starting digits multiply to 24. That gives us 12,000 wide and 2,000 tall. To solve using algebra, if the sign is t LEDs tall, then

t x 6t = 24,000,000

6(t x t) = 24,000,000

t x t = 4,000,000

so t = 2,000.

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