Sleeping in the Ice Hotel

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.

Sleeping in the Ice Hotel

January 28, 2018

If your town is in the thick of winter and you’re feeling chilly, think about the people sleeping tonight in the Ice Hotel. Built every winter in Quebec, Canada, the Ice Hotel is exactly what it sounds like: a sparkling hotel totally made of ice and snow. The smooth, almost-clear blocks of ice gleam a faint blue, and are held together with 15,000 tons of packed snow. Even your bed is a block of ice, with a deerskin over it to make it comfy (we’ve tried it). It’s less than 30 degrees F inside the hotel, since of course there’s no heat. So you sleep on that deerskin in a subzero sleeping bag — and just in your underwear, to avoid sweaty, chilly PJs. There are also Ice Hotels in Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. So if you’ve wondered what it’s like to stay in an igloo, you have several freezing cold places you can try.

Wee ones: If you’ve visited 2 of the Ice Hotels, then visit 1 more, have you visited all of them?

Little kids: If your bed is a layer of 6 blocks topped by a layer of 4 bigger blocks, how many blocks did they need to “make” your bed?  Bonus: If they build the Ice Hotel in December and it finally melts in March, during how many months can you stay there?

Big kids: If an ice block takes up 3 cubic feet of space, but the fluffy snow they melted to make it took up 6 times as much space, how many cubic feet of snow made that block?  Bonus: If the wall of your hotel room is 9 ice blocks wide and 9 block layers high, how many blocks are in that wall?

The sky’s the limit: At the Ice Hotel, even drinks are served in “glasses” made of ice. If you need 2 cups of water to make a small ice glass and 3 cups to make a large one, how many glasses can you make from 60 cups of water, if you make the same number of each size?




Wee ones: No, because you’ve seen 3 and there are 4.

Little kids: 10 blocks.  Bonus: 4 months.

Big kids: 18 cubic feet of snow.  Bonus: 81 blocks.

The sky’s the limit: 12 glasses of each size. Each pair of small-and-large uses 5 cups water total, so 60 cups will let you make 12 sets.

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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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