High as a Kite

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.

High as a Kite

March 18, 2016

You can make a kite in just about any shape. All you need is a thin material like cloth or plastic, a light frame of sticks to stretch it wide, and a string to keep it from flying away forever. You might not believe this, but the first kites were created 2,800 years ago in China, and it was serious business: They used kites to send messages across long distances and help scientific research. We also know Benjamin Franklin famously flew a kite into a thunderstorm, and the Wright Brothers used kites to study the wind when building their airplane. Even without the sparks and shocks, anyone can feel the excitement of tossing a kite into the air, getting a good running start, and watching that kite soar. If you’re feeling really strong, you can try flying the world’s largest kite ever made: a Kuwaiti flag that was 131 feet wide and 84 feet tall!

Wee ones: How many sides does the kite in the picture have?

Little kids: They say kites need a wind speed between 5 and 15 miles an hour: fast enough to lift the kite, but not enough to spin out of control. If the wind blows 9 miles an hour, will that work?  Bonus: The longer your kite string, the higher it can fly. If your string is 20 feet long and you tie on another 10 feet, how high can it fly now?

Big kids: If a gust of wind makes your 60-foot-high kite nosedive 42 feet straight down, how high off the ground is your kite now?  Bonus: The largest kite ever flown was 84 feet tall! If your kite is 7 feet long, how many of those would lie end to end to match the height of that flag?

 

 

 

Answers:
Wee ones: 4 sides.

Little kids: Yes, because 9 is more than 5 but less than 15.  Bonus: 30 feet high.

Big kids: 18 feet.  Bonus: 12 kites.

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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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