Ice Bucket Challenge

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.

Ice Bucket Challenge

August 25, 2014

When people want to collect money for a good cause, like inventing new medicines, there are lots of ways to do it, and the ALS Foundation has a really fun one: the Ice Bucket Challenge. The idea is pretty simple: People agree to have gallons of ice-cold water dumped on them, and friends pay good money to watch this; the money goes to research a cure for ALS. Actors, singers, politicians and lots of other famous people have gotten into the act, along with thousands who aren’t famous. But the best of all may be the family in Orland Park, Illinois, who filled an entire concrete mixer truck with ice water, then poured the whole thing on the mom and her son! That truck held 1,200 gallons, enough water for you to drink 8 cups a day for more than 6 years. If an icy waterfall over your head sounds like fun, it’s not too late — you can do the Ice Bucket Challenge too, even if you don’t have a giant truck.

Wee ones: Which can hold more icy water, a 1,000-gallon truck or a 2,000-gallon truck?

Little kids: If you want to dump 10 buckets of ice water on your best friend and you’ve poured 2 so far, how many more do you need to pour?  Bonus: If the mixer truck had dumped just 100 of those 1,200 gallons, how much would have been left to pour on you? (Hint: another way to say 1,200 is “twelve hundred”.)

Big kids: If a small swimming pool holds 6,000 gallons of water, at least how many 1,200-gallon mixer trucks would you need to fill the pool?  Bonus: If you did drink 1/2 gallon per day from that mixer truck, how much would you drink in 1 year, assuming you didn’t get a brain freeze? (Assume a non-leap year.)




Wee ones: The 2,000-gallon truck.

Little kids: 8 buckets.  Bonus: 1,100 gallons (eleven hundred).

Big kids: 5 full trucks.  Bonus: 182 1/2 gallons.

And thank you Mary D. for giving us this great math problem topic!

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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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