The post Party Fish appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>It’s fun to get a party favor after a birthday party. Well, imagine if that favor was a live *fish*. That happened here at Bedtime Math: at a friend’s party, every one of the 32 kids took home a plastic bag of water with a confused fish swimming inside. Of course, each fish then needed the right set-up in its new home: a fishbowl or aquarium, a layer of colorful gravel (little stones), and then a cute castle or seashells for decoration…maybe even a few fish friends. Fishbowls also need the right amount of water: the rough rule is “1 gallon per inch of fish” when lined up end to end. We hope all 32 fish like their new homes!

*Wee ones:* If after the party you get a fish and 3 seashells, what numbers do you say to count your party favors?

*Little kids:* If you have 2 pet goldfish that are each 3 inches long, how many total inches long are they together? *Bonus:* If they were each 5 inches long, would 9 gallons of water be enough? (Remember, you need 1 gallon per total inch…)

*Big kids:* If 13 of the 32 fish got a new fish buddy once home, how many total fish do the partygoers have now? *Bonus:* If every 5th fish owner (starting with the 5th) bought a castle, how many castles did the store sell?

*The sky’s the limit:* The rule for giving fish water is 1 gallon per inch of fish. If your local pet store sells 2-inch and 5-inch tropical fish, and your fishtank can hold 20 gallons, how many different combos of fish would use exactly the full 20?

Answers:

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

*Little kids:* 6 inches. *Bonus:* Not quite, since they would need 10 gallons.

*Big kids:* 45 fish. *Bonus:* 6 castles, for the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, and 30th fish owners.

*The sky’s the limit:* Just 3 different combos: 10 small fish, 2 big fish and 5 small, and 4 big fish. We can’t have 1 big fish or 3 big fish, because they’d require an odd number of gallons, leaving an odd number that can’t be filled by 2s.

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]]>The post The “Dessert Compartment” appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>We all know about the secret “dessert compartment,” right? The part of you that stays empty and has room for dessert even when you’re full from dinner? Well, okay, no scientist has proven that this body part exists. But sometimes even when we feel full, another food appears and suddenly we’re hungry again. Why? New food excites our taste buds more than food we’ve already tasted. In fact, when people eat at a buffet — a long table with lots of foods — they eat more food if they keep walking up to try more foods than if they fill their plate once with a bunch of choices. And in one famous study, people whose soup bowls were secretly refilling with more soup from the bottom ate 73% more soup (almost double) than people who ate from one steady serving! The lesson: stop eating when you feel full, or they’ll have to roll you out of there.

*Wee ones:* If at a buffet you eat chicken, potatoes, corn, string beans, and chocolate cake, how many foods do you eat?

*Little kids:* If you’ve tried 5 types of pasta from the buffet and then the kitchen brings out 2 kinds of cupcakes, how many types of food can you try in total? *Bonus:* If you try 9 foods and eat 10 bites of each, how would you count up the bites by 10s?

*Big kids:* If 7 soup eaters each eat 7 bowls of soup, how many bowls do they eat together? *Bonus: *The always-full bowls ate about 3/4 more soup than people eating from just one big bowl to start. So if you ate 20 spoons of soup, about how many did the endless-soup eaters eat?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 5 foods.

*Little kids:* 7 types of food. *Bonus:* 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90.

*Big kids:* 49 bowls. *Bonus:* 35 spoons…a quarter of 20 is 5 spoons, so adding 3 of those chunks means adding on 15.

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]]>The post “Wrong Way” Corrigan appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Sometimes people make a wrong turn while driving. But flying a *plane* the wrong way is a bigger deal. Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan, an early airplane pilot was supposed to fly from New York to California. Somehow he ended up flying in the opposite direction — all the way over the Atlantic Ocean to Ireland! He said he got lost because it was cloudy out, and in the dim light he couldn’t read his compass. So he flew east instead of west. Luckily, he had always wanted to fly to Ireland — this was back in 1938, when not many people had crossed the Atlantic. And he’d built his plane himself, adding extra fuel tanks for long trips. All he brought to eat, though, were 2 boxes of fig bars and 2 chocolate bars…because he’d planned for a shorter trip!

*Wee ones:* If Wrong Way ate 3 fig bars and 2 chocolate bars, of which kind did he eat more?

*Little kids:* If he ate those 3 fig bars and 2 chocolate bars, how many bars did he eat in total? *Bonus:* 28 hours is just a little more than 1 day (24 hours). By how much?

*Big kids: *If the flight to Ireland took 28 hours, and a flight to California would have taken half the time, how fast would he have flown to California? *Bonus:* Wrong Way left at 5:15 am that morning and landed in Ireland 28 hours later, where the clocks are also 5 hours ahead of New York. What time did he land on local time?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* More fig bars.

*Little kids:* 5 snack bars. *Bonus:* By 4 hours.

*Big kids:* 14 hours. *Bonus:* 2:15 pm local time the next day, since he landed at 9:15 am New York time.

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

]]>First of all, today’s date is really cool: 12/08/2018. 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 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 Take a Walk with a Fish appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>People walk, fish swim…it all makes sense, right? Well, it turns out fish can walk, too. As our friend Michael B. just shared, scientists deep under the sea found a fish walking on the ocean floor. It’s called a pink frogmouth, and as you see in the video, it uses its fins like feet. They live between 600 and 1,000 feet below the surface. It’s not the cutest fish, but you have to admit, it has skills.

*Wee ones:* Take a step with your left foot. Now take a step with your right! How many steps have you taken?

*Little kids:* If the fish walks with 2 funny fins in front and 2 funny fins in the back, how many fins does it use? *Bonus:* If it takes a step with a front fin, then a back fin, then a front fin, then back to repeat, which kind of fin takes the 11^{th} step?

*Big kids:* If you can swim down 100 feet each minute, how many minutes would it take you to reach a fish 800 feet deep? (And yes, you have an air tank!) *Bonus:* How many *more* minutes would it take to swim down 1,000 feet to catch another frogmouth?

*The sky’s the limit:* If the frogmouth takes 20 teeny steps for each of yours as you “walk” together, how many steps do you take if the fish has taken 1,900 more steps than you have?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 2 steps.

*Little kids:* 4 fins. *Bonus:* A front fin.

*Big kids:* 8 minutes. *Bonus:* 2 more minutes, since the new trip would take 10 minutes total.

*The sky’s the limit:* 100 steps. The fish takes 19 more steps than you on each of yours, and 1,900 has 100 of those “sets.”

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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 nearly 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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