Race for the Crown

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.

Race for the Crown

May 5, 2018

Tonight some of the fastest horses in America will run in the Kentucky Derby, one of the 3 major U.S. horse races every year. Horses may seem like gentle, wide-eyed sweeties, but these 1,100-pound animals turn into speed monsters on the track, running at close to 50 miles an hour. These racing stars also have really fun names: this year’s group includes Firenze Fire, Magnum Moon, and Dream Baby Dream. The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont are the names of the 3 races. If a horse wins all 3 — which has happened only 12 times in history — the horse wins the Triple Crown. Let’s see if tonight’s winner will go on to make it a lucky 13.

Wee ones: If a horse wins all 3 major races this year, it wins the Triple Crown. How many more races does tonight’s winner have to win to get the crown?

Little kids: The 20 racehorses are lined up in number order. Which 2 number horses are next to horse #7?  Bonus: Which 2 number horses have the middle spots in that whole line-up?

Big kids: If your horse can jump 50 inches high, and you’re 4 feet tall, can your horse jump over you?  Bonus: 20 horses will run in tonight’s race. If each of their feet takes 200 steps to run around the track, how many hoofprints will there be after the race? (You can skip their starting spots, and assume no hoof lands in others’ hoofprint!)













Wee ones: 2 more races.

Little kids: #6 and #8.  Bonus: #10 and #11. There are 9 horses on either side of that pair.

Big kids: Yes! 4 feet is just 48 inches.  Bonus: 16,000 hoofprints. There are 80 feet making 200 prints apiece.

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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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