Beat the Clock, Win a Truck

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.

Beat the Clock, Win a Truck

November 12, 2014

Basketball isn’t just about chucking the ball so it lands in the net. There’s a lot of excitement in how you throw the ball, and how far. You can do a layup, where you run to the basket and jump high to toss the ball with one hand. You can shoot from far away: from the free-throw mark, the 3-point line (a big half-circle around the net), and even the half-court line. Well, a Drake University student name Alex Tillinghast had the chance to win a Ford F-150 pickup truck if he could do all 4 of those moves in less than 30 seconds. As you can see in this video, there was a lot of drama and suspense as he missed his first couple of shots, but suddenly he got in a groove and started making the shots. Watch to see whether he can do it!

Wee ones: What shape is a basketball?

Little kids: If Alex did a layup, free throw, 3-pointer and half-court shot, then repeated that all over again, what would the 7th shot be?  Bonus: Alex took his final shot just 2 seconds before the 30-second buzzer went off. How many seconds had passed?

Big kids: Given that a free throw is 15 feet from the basket, a 3-pointer is about 20 feet, and half-court is 42 feet, how many (horizontal) feet total did the ball travel on those 3 throws?  Bonus: If Alex did a layup, free throw, 3-pointer and half-court shot, then repeated that over and over, what would the 34th shot be?




Wee ones: A sphere, which is the 3-dimensional shape; or a circle in profile.

Little kids: A 3-pointer.  Bonus: 28 seconds.

Big kids: About 77 feet.  Bonus: A free throw, since it’s the 2nd shot in each set of 4.

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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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