American Ninja Warrior

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.

American Ninja Warrior

July 21, 2014

If there’s one time you get to see super-strong, super-fast people do amazing stunts, it’s on “American Ninja Warrior.” In this show, gymnasts, runners, mountain climbers, and other athletes try to get through the biggest, craziest jungle gym ever built. They climb tilted ladders, shimmy up poles, and run across tipping, spinning mats. It’s all in the spirit of real ninjas, the sneaky warriors in long-ago Japan who did flips and tricks while chasing their enemies (but it’s a little friendlier than that). The winners from each city go to the finals, and this week that included a woman for the first time. Kacy Catanzaro is only 5 feet tall, but somehow swung through the whole obstacle course without falling, including “walking” across pegs while hanging from hoops, as you see in the photo. Watch here to see how she did the math to time her leaps, bounds, and swings. And if you like climbing, jumping and swinging, maybe you can become a ninja, too.

Wee ones: If Kacy had to climb ladders, slide up poles, run across a tilting mat, swing onto a net, and hang from hoops, how many types of tricks is that?

Little kids: Kacy had to hang from the 2 red hoops and “walk” across 3 beams by hooking the hoops onto the remaining pegs. If the first beam had 6 pegs and the next had 5, how many pegs is that?  Bonus: There were 15 pegs in total. How many pegs were on the 3rd beam?

Big kids: If you try out for American Ninja Warrior, and you start the final “spider climb” at 8 minutes 13 seconds and take 14 seconds to do it, what’s your time at the end of that?  Bonus: If it then takes you 3 seconds more to hit the buzzer for your final time, by how much do you beat Kacy’s final time of 8 minutes 59 seconds?




Wee ones: 5 types of tricks.

Little kids: 11 pegs.  Bonus: 4 pegs.

Big kids: 8 minutes 27 seconds.  Bonus: 29 seconds.

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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 before she could walk, 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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