The post Ice Cream for Breakfast appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Yes, there’s a holiday for everything, and today is Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. Ice cream has been around for over 2,000 years, ever since the Romans mixed fruit with ice for a tasty snack. When electricity came along in the 1800s and the freezer was invented, it became even easier to keep ice cream cold. It wasn’t really a breakfast food, though. But during a blizzard in 1966, a mom named Florence Rappaport in Rochester, NY decided to give her kids ice cream for breakfast, since they were all stuck inside. They did the same thing a year later. When the kids went off to college, they started sharing their family tradition with friends, and a holiday was born. Why not – if you top your ice cream with nuts, berries and granola (and it’s all on top of your whole grain waffle), it’s *almost* a healthy meal. Besides, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day comes around only once a year out of 365 days…so we think it’s okay to try it once. If you missed it this morning, try it tomorrow!

*Wee ones:* How many scoops of yummy “stuff” are on the waffle in the photo?

*Little kids:* If you scoop chocolate, vanilla, mint, peanut butter cup, and coffee chip, but are hungry enough to eat only 3 flavors, how many flavors do you leave behind? *Bonus:* Ice Cream for Breakfast Day is always the first Saturday of February. What’s the latest date it could be?

*Big kids:* If you eat ice cream for breakfast only 1 day a year, how many days do you not eat it? *Bonus:* If you scoop your ice cream for breakfast at 7:55 am, and it melts completely in 27 minutes, at what time is it totally melted?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 4 scoops.

*Little kids:* 2 flavors. *Bonus:* February 7.

*Big kids:* 364 days (or 365 in a leap year). *Bonus:* At 8:22 am.

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]]>The post Class Pet appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Schools aren’t just for people, you know. A lot of classrooms have a live animal as a class pet. Whether it’s a hamster, a lizard, or an aquarium full of fish, the class pet is your buddy: you can pat it, chat with it, and maybe even give it the parts of your lunch you don’t want. Hershey and Snickers, the Bedtime Math guinea pigs shown here, will happily eat your leftover carrots. But any animal is basically an eating, drinking and pooping machine. Who takes care of all these critters over the weekends or holiday breaks? More often than not, the pets get to go home with a student, and that lucky student might be you. Let’s do the math to make sure these critters are getting enough attention.

*Wee ones:* If you get to feed Floppy the fish on the 2nd day of the month, then the 4th, then the 6th…when do you feed Floppy next?

*Little kids:* If someone needs to feed the hermit crabs every 3rd day starting on a Sunday, on what day do they eat for the 3rd time? *Bonus:* If Hershey and Snickers each eat 5 big carrot sticks each day, how many do they eat in total when you take them home for a 2-day weekend?

*Big kids:* If there are 35 week(end)s of school and your class has 23 kids, and you each take a turn bringing home Godzilla the gerbil, how many kids get a 2nd weekend with Godzilla? *Bonus:* If all *but* 7 kids are allergic to gerbils, how many times do those lucky 7 kids each get to take Godzilla?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* On the 8th day.

*Little kids:* On Saturday. *Bonus:* 20 sticks, since together they eat 10 each day.

*Big kids:* 12 kids. *Bonus:* 5 times each.

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]]>The post Getting in Line with Mars and Jupiter appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>It’s crazy to think that we’re all standing on a *giant* ball of dirt and rock flying through space. Earth is a “planet” sailing through space, 93 million miles from our Sun. Another 7 major planets spin around the Sun with us, and this week you can see an amazing sight: 5 of those planets are lined up in an almost perfect straight line in the early morning sky. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn all shine so brightly that you can see them with your “naked eye:” you don’t need a telescope or binoculars. Of course, they are all millions of miles apart in the sky…Saturn is almost a *billion* miles away, which is 1,000 times 1,000 times 1,000! The planets just all happen to be on the same side of the Sun right now, so we can see them all at once. This hasn’t happened in more than 10 years. So while it’s hard to wake up while it’s still dark out to see this, we think it’s worth it.

*Wee ones:* If you count the 5 planets in a row, what numbers do you say?

*Little kids:* If we can see 5 of the 7 other major planets, how many of them can we not see? *Bonus:* If the last planet line-up was 12 years ago, how old were you then, or how many years later were you born?

*Big kids:* Jupiter looks like a tiny spot, but it’s about 10 times as wide as Earth. We’re about 8,000 miles wide, so about how wide is Jupiter? *Bonus:* Can you “spell” the number 1 billion in digits?

*The sky’s the limit — literally:* Mercury and Venus always show up near the Sun since they’re closest to it, but the other 3 planets could sit anywhere. If Mercury and Venus are always in the first 2 slots and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are always in the 3rd through 5th slots, in how many orders could the planets line up? (*Hint if needed:* This gives you far fewer choices than if all 5 could be in any order.)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

*Little kids:* 2 planets. *Bonus:* Different for everyone…subtract 12 from your age, or subtract your age from 12!

*Big kids:* About 80,000 miles (it’s 86,881, to be more exact). *Bonus:* 1,000,000,000!

*The sky’s the limit:* 12 ways. Mercury and Venus can line up as either MV or VM. For each of those, the remaining 3 planets have 6 possible orders: JMS, JSM, MJS, MSJ, SJM, and SMJ. Since there’s a MV set of those and VM set of those, we have 12 choices.

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]]>The post When Jaguars Step It Up appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>The “big cats” – lions, tigers, cheetahs, jaguars and so on – really are bigger cousins of our pet cats in our homes: longer tails, bigger teeth, bigger paws. So our friend Leo S. asked us, how many steps does a jaguar take in 1 year? (He also sent an awesome drawing to help us picture it). That’s a great question, because cats are known for loving their naps…how much of the day do jaguars even stay awake? Turns out they’re less sleepy than the other big cats, as they’re up and moving more than 1/2 the day. Then we have to ask, how far do they move? At an animal rescue center in Bolivia, a news reporter who walked a jaguar on a leash traveled 2 miles in just an hour and a half. If the cat moves around for 12 hours a day (8 times as long), that would be 16 miles a day, or 5,840 in a year. Then we have to figure out how many steps it takes for a jaguar to walk a mile. Then of course, it *really* adds up if that cat has 9 lives…

*Wee ones:* Who has more legs, you or a jaguar?

*Little kids:* If a jaguar naps for 2 hours, then runs around for 3 hours, then starts over and naps for 2 hours, what does it do next? *Bonus:* If a jaguar walks just 10 miles a day for 1 week, what numbers would you say to count its miles by 10s?

*Big kids:* If a jaguar steps with its front left foot, then its back right, then its front right, then its back left, then repeats…which foot takes the 22nd step? *Bonus:* If you walk your pet jaguar for 3,000 steps and each step is 2 feet long, will you guys walk a whole mile? (Reminder if needed: A mile has 5,280 feet.)

*The sky’s the limit:* If a jaguar takes a nice neat 2,000 steps per mile, and walks 5,840 miles in a year, how many steps does it take? (Hint if needed: What if it took just 2 steps per mile?)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* The jaguar, since it has 4 vs. your 2 legs.

*Little kids:* Runs for 3 hours. *Bonus:* 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70.

*Big kids:* Its back right foot, since it’s the 2nd step in that set of 4. *Bonus:* Yes! since the jaguar will travel 6,000 feet.

*The sky’s the limit:* 11,680,000 steps!

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]]>The post The World’s Biggest Store appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>When you’re driving through the middle of nowhere, you’re always glad to find a rest stop — either to grab a snack, or to pee after holding it in forever. Any gas station or store will do. But nothing beats Wall Drug. Located in Wall, South Dakota, Wall Drug may very well be the world’s biggest single store. Hardly anyone lives there: back when Ted Hustead bought the place in 1931, the town had only 231 people, and even today it has only 876. But lots of travelers drive by on their way to Mount Rushmore, the mountain with American presidents’ faces carved into it. So about 2 *million *people visit the store every year. It has 76,000 square feet of space, and you can buy just about anything there, not just snacks: lawn chairs, slingshots, sleeping bags, sleds…and of course, you also get to say hi to the 80-foot-long model dinosaur standing outside. Those are all great reasons to visit, even if you don’t need to pee.

*Wee ones:* There are billboards (signs) for Wall Drug from as far as 500 miles. If they have billboards in Montana, Minnesota, and both North and South Dakota, how many states is that?

*Little kids:* If at Wall Drug you buy 3 slingshots, 4 birthday cards and a birdcage, how many items did you buy? *Bonus:* If instead you buy 6 pairs of cowboy boots and a hat, now how many items is that, counting each boot separately?

*Big kids:* If the number of visitors this year was just 1,000 times the town’s population of 876, how many visitors would that be — and how do you “spell” that number in digits? *Bonus:* Wall Drug became famous by giving away cups of water to thirsty tourists, and now serves about 20,000 cups every summer day. How many cups do they serve in a week?

*The sky’s the limit:* If there’s a billboard 256 miles from Wall Drug, then each billboard after that is at 1/2 the distance until 1 mile away, how many billboards will you see in total?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 4 states.

*Little kids:* 8 items. *Bonus: *13 items.

*Big kids:* 876,000 (876 thousand). *Bonus:* 140,000 cups.

*The sky’s the limit:* 9 billboards, at 256, then at 128 miles, 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, and 1 mile.

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]]>The post Long Cool Snowwoman appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>If you’ve gotten any wet, sticky, snowbally snow this winter, maybe you’ve had the chance to build a snowman. And the farther you roll that snowball, the bigger the snowman. The world’s tallest snowman — snowwoman, actually — was built in Bethel, Maine in 2008. Named Olympia after Maine’s senator Olympia Snowe, the snowwoman towered 122 feet above the ground. She was so tall that they used skis for her eyelashes and wreaths for her eyes! She wore a 100-foot long scarf, and waved 2 whole 27-foot tall trees as arms. Her 8-foot long “carrot” nose would reach your bedroom ceiling if you stood it on end. No one in the 8 years since has broken that record…if you feel like lugging trees and skis up a snow hill that’s many times taller than your house, you can give it a try.

*Wee ones:* Olympia had 2 wreaths for eyes, 3 wreaths for jacket buttons, and 2 trees for arms. Of which leafy object did she wear the most?

*Little kids:* If the snowwoman-builders stuck on a green ski, then a silver one, then a blue, then a red, then started over with green, how many green skis would they have used after sticking on 8 in total? *Bonus:* If they had 20 skis total and needed 8 for each eye, did they have enough for lashes for both eyes?

*Big kids:* Olympia’s scarf was 100 feet long, even though Olympia herself was 122 feet tall. How much taller than her own scarf was Olympia? *Bonus:* If they’d made Olympia by stacking 2 giant snowballs, with the bottom one 6 feet taller than the top one, how big would each snowball have had to be to total 122 feet?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* More wreaths.

*Little kids:* 2 green skis. *Bonus:* Yes, since they’d need just 16.

*Big kids:* 22 feet. *Bonus:* 64 feet and 58 feet. If they’d been the same size, they’d each be 61 feet tall. As you make the bottom ball 1 foot bigger and the other 1 foot smaller, the difference between them grows by 2…so you go up 3 feet and down 3 feet from 61 to get 2 numbers that are 6 apart.

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]]>The post When Robots Horse Around appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Riding a horse sounds like a ton of fun, but it isn’t easy. These huge animals can weigh over 1,000 pounds and gallop more than 30 miles an hour, while you hang on trying not to fall off. And if the horse doesn’t feel like carrying you, it will try to shake you off. It might be smart to practice on a non-living, toy one first. So our friend Amber J. asked, what is the biggest robot horse on Earth? Well, we couldn’t find a fully horse-shaped robot…but if you’re okay with it not having a head, here’s a machine that could count. This robot from DARPA can carry up to 400 pounds, while a horse can carry only about 1/5 of its own body weight. It turns out the biggest robot in the world is an animal, though: Tradinno, the 56-foot-long fire-breathing dragon! It stands 27 feet tall, stretches its wings almost 40 feet across, and weighs 11 tons. When you think about riding that thing, a real horse sounds easier.

*Wee ones:* Who is taller, you or a 3-foot-tall robotic horse? Find out your height rounded off in feet!

*Little kids:* If you take your headless robotic horse for a walk, how many legs do you have together? *Bonus:* If you can pick up 10 pounds and that’s 1/5 of your weight, how much do you weigh? Try counting up by 10s!

*Big kids:* If Tradinno’s wings stretch 40 feet total and they’re equal length, how long is each wing? *Bonus:* If you and your friends each weigh 50 pounds, can 4 of you together ride a horse that can carry 250 pounds?

*The sky’s the limit:* If you make your own pet Tradinno, but only 14 feet long instead of 56 feet, how wide would its wings stretch if you wanted the same proportions (ratio) as the real one? (The real one has wings 40 feet across.)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* Different for everyone…find out if you’re taller or shorter than 3 feet (36 inches).

*Little kids:* 6 legs, since the horse has 4. *Bonus:* 50 pounds (10,20,30,40,50).

*Big kids:* 20 feet total. *Bonus:* Yes! since together you all weigh only 200 pounds.

*The sky’s the limit:* 10 feet, or 1/4 of 40, since the new length is 1/4 of the real length of 56.

And thank you Amber for that fire-breathing math question!

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]]>The post Going for a Dip – in Chocolate appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>No matter how much you love your favorite snack — apple, banana, pound cake — it probably tastes even better dipped in something warm and gooey. That’s what you do when you eat “fondue.” You fill the fondue pot with cheese or chocolate, and put a hot flame under it to melt it. Then you stick bite-sized chunks of food onto long, skinny forks, and dip it into the melted yumminess. It all started long ago in 1699, when the Swiss invented cheese fondue. Since then we’ve added two other kinds: meat fondue, where you cook chunks of steak in hot oil, and an even better one, chocolate fondue. But whether you dip into cheese or chocolate, you have to pay attention: some say that if you drop your apple slice in the pot, you have to kiss the person to your left!

*Wee ones:* If you dip apple in chocolate, then dip banana, then apple, then banana…what comes next?

*Little kids:* If you dip 5 strawberries and 3 raspberries into the chocolate, how many berries do you dip in total? *Bonus:* How many more strawberries than raspberries do you dip?

*Big kids:* If you dip an apple slice, then a banana slice, then cake, then apple again, banana and cake to repeat, what’s the 20th bite you eat? *Bonus:* If you put out 24 marshmallows and 35 cubes of Rice Krispie treat for dipping, and each person takes 3 marshmallows and 5 Krispie cubes, which one will run out first?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* A piece of apple.

*Little kids:* 8 berries. *Bonus:* 2 more strawberries.

*Big kids:* Banana, since all multiples of 3 (like the 18th bite) will be cake; then you start over. *Bonus:* The Krispie treats. There are enough cubes for just 7 people, but enough marshmallows for 8.

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]]>The post Bzzzzy as a Bee appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>When people work really hard, we say they’re “busy as a bee” — but the bee is probably the busier one. These cute, fuzzy bugs with the not-so-cute stingers do a big job in nature. As they fly among the flowers to feed themselves, they carry pollen from one bloom to the next, helping fruits and veggies grow. On top of that, honey bees also make honey: worker bees gather sticky “nectar” from the flowers, then dry it out by fanning their wings 200 times per second. So our friend Nina J. asked us, how many bees does it take to make one jar of honey? (along with an excellent bee picture.) Well, in its short 6-week life, a bee makes only 1/12 teaspoon of honey. That doesn’t sound like much, but a hive has so many bees — up to 60,000 by summer — that one hive can make enough honey for itself *and* an extra 100 pounds for us! That would be one huge jar to take home, so let’s see how many bees we need for a jar we can carry.

*Wee ones:* Like all insects, a bee has 6 legs. Is that more or fewer legs than you have?

*Little kids:* If a bee lands on a yellow tulip, then a pink tulip, then a yellow, then a pink, and keeps repeating, what color is the 7th flower? *Bonus:* Bees fly about 15 miles per hour. If you can ride your bike 1 mile per hour faster, how fast are you?

*Big kids:* In early spring a hive has about 10,000 bees, but by summer it can have up to 60,000. Can you count by 10,000s from 10,000 to 60,000? *Bonus:* If a jar of honey has 20 *tablespoons* of honey, and each bee makes 1/12 of a *teaspoon*, how many bees made that jar of honey? (*Reminder if needed:* A tablespoon has 3 teaspoons in it!)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* More legs, since 6 is more than 2.

*Little kids:* Yellow. *Bonus:* 16 miles per hour.

*Big kids:* 10,000…20,000…30,000…40,000…50,000…60,000. *Bonus:* 720 bees. There are 60 teaspoons in the jar (20 x 3), and each one needs 12 bees.

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]]>The post Sleeping in the Ice Hotel appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>If your town is in the thick of winter and you’re feeling chilly, think about the people sleeping tonight in the Ice Hotel. Built every winter in Quebec, Canada, the Ice Hotel is exactly what it sounds like: a sparkling hotel totally made of ice and snow. The smooth, almost-clear blocks of ice gleam a faint blue, and are held together with 15,000 *tons* of packed snow. Even your bed is a block of ice, with a deerskin over it to make it comfy (we’ve tried it). It’s less than 30 degrees F inside the hotel, since of course there’s no heat. So you sleep on that deerskin in a subzero sleeping bag — and just in your underwear, to avoid sweaty, chilly PJs. There are also Ice Hotels in Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. So if you’ve wondered what it’s like to stay in an igloo, you have several freezing cold places you can try.

*Wee ones:* If you’ve visited 2 of the Ice Hotels, then visit 1 more, have you visited all of them?

*Little kids:* If your bed is a layer of 6 blocks topped by a layer of 4 bigger blocks, how many blocks did they need to “make” your bed? *Bonus:* If they build the Ice Hotel in December and it finally melts in March, during how many months can you stay there?

*Big kids:* If an ice block takes up 3 cubic feet of space, but the fluffy snow they melted to make it took up 6 times as much space, how many cubic feet of snow made that block? *Bonus:* If the wall of your hotel room is 9 ice blocks wide and 9 block layers high, how many blocks are in that wall?

*The sky’s the limit:* At the Ice Hotel, even drinks are served in “glasses” made of ice. If you need 2 cups of water to make a small ice glass and 3 cups to make a large one, how many glasses can you make from 60 cups of water, if you make the same number of each size?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* No, because you’ve seen 3 and there are 4.

*Little kids:* 10 blocks. *Bonus:* 4 months.

*Big kids:* 18 cubic feet of snow. *Bonus:* 81 blocks.

*The sky’s the limit:* 12 glasses of each size. Each pair of small-and-large uses 5 cups water total, so 60 cups will let you make 12 sets.

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