A Truly Magic Carpet

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.

A Truly Magic Carpet

August 16, 2014

A flower is beautiful on its own, but when you put it with thousands of other flowers to make a picture, they become even more beautiful. Every 2 years the city of Brussels, Belgium makes a giant mural of flowers in the center square, and this year’s mural is ready for visitors to see. About 750,000 begonias were placed in a rectangle that’s 250 feet long and 82 feet wide! As you see, the flower picture looks like a Turkish carpet, to celebrate the arrival of Turkish workers in Belgium 50 years ago. It took over 100 workers a full day to put all those flowers in place. As much as passersby are enjoying seeing and sniffing the flowers, we’re thinking bumblebees are probably loving it even more.

Wee ones: How many colors of flowers can you count in the mural? Count as high as you can!

Little kids: If you’re helping make the mural and they hand you 9 flowers to plant, and you’ve put 3 in place so far, how many flowers do you have left?  Bonus: If you wanted to add your own face to the picture, and you use 30 flowers for your hair plus 2 flowers for your eyes and 3 for your mouth, how many flowers is that?

Big kids: If 100 workers spent 8 hours making the mural, for how long would 200 workers have had to work at the same speed to finish?  Bonus: How many more flowers would they need if they wanted to have a total of 1,000,000 (1 million)?




Wee ones: We see at least 8 colors, but see how many you can find!

Little kids: 6 more flowers.  Bonus: 35 flowers.

Big kids: Just 4 hours, since either comes to 800 man-hours of work.  Bonus: 250,000 more flowers.

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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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