1 Fish, 2 Fish, 396 Fish

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

1 Fish, 2 Fish, 396 Fish

March 2, 2017

Today is Read Across America Day, and why? Because it’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday! His real name was Theodor Geisel, and he’s not around anymore, but we still celebrate his many books: The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, and the tweetle beetle battles in Fox in Socks. There’s a fun number behind Green Eggs and Ham: his book publisher bet him $50 that he couldn’t write a book using just 50 unique (different) words. Dr. Seuss did it, and won the $50. In the end he wrote 56 books under the name Dr. Seuss, and more books under other names. They’ve sold 222 million copies…it looks like people really do love green eggs and ham.

Wee ones: See if you can spot 4 green things in your room.

Little kids: How many words does “I do not like green eggs and ham” have? Bonus: Dr. Seuss wrote 56 books under that name, 10 as “Theo LeSieg,” and 1 as “Rosetta Stone.” How many books is that in total?

Big kids: If Dr. Seuss dropped the word “eggs” from the 50 words in Green Eggs and Ham, how many words would it use then? Bonus: The book editor thought he’d win the bet because The Cat in the Hat has 225 different words. How many more words is that than the 50-unique-word Green Eggs and Ham?

The sky’s the limit: If each of the 222 million books printed so far was bought by a different person in the U.S., and 20 million more books were bought each year starting in 2017, what’s the soonest year when all 320 million Americans could have a Dr. Seuss book?

Answers:
Wee ones: Items might include shirts, socks, live plants or flowers, tennis balls, or Lego pieces.

Little kids: 8 words. Bonus: 67 books.

Big kids: 49 words. Bonus: 175 more words.

The sky’s the limit: In 2021. They need to buy 98 million more books (320-222), which will take 5 years. The first year will be 2017, then 2018, 2019, 2020, and finally 2021. Note that this is the “fencepost problem”: since 2017 is the first year to include, we’re really adding 5 to 2016, not 2017.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking while still in diapers, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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