A Message for an Astronaut Dad

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 Message for an Astronaut Dad

April 22, 2017

Dessert letter drawing action shot

When astronauts sail through space, everything on Earth looks really tiny: lakes, mountains, roads, even whole countries. But a 12-year-old girl really wanted her astronaut dad to see a note from her from space. So car company Hyundai sent 11 cars to “write” giant letters on the ground that he could see from the floating International Space Station. Stephanie wrote a message on paper: “Steph (heart)’s you!” Then 11 cars drove in a row to make those same shapes on the Nevada’s Delamar Dry Lake, a giant, smooth desert. The letters had to be thousands of feet tall, and covered 59 million square feet! To celebrate Earth Day today, watch this video to see Earth and Steph’s note from space!

Wee ones: How would you count those 11 cars? Count as high as you can!

Little kids: How many letters did the cars drive? Count the letters in “Steph,” the “s” and “you”!  Bonus: If the name Steph is 2,000 feet tall, the heart is 3,000 feet, and the you! is 2,000 feet tall, how tall are the 3 rows together?

Big kids: If 11 cars drove with studs on all 4 tires on each, how many studded tires helped draw this picture?  Bonus: If 11 cars drove and each is 6 feet wide, and there were 3 feet between any 2 cars next to each other, how thick are the stripes in those letters?




Wee ones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11!

Little kids: 9 letters (5+1+3).  Bonus: 7,000 feet tall.

Big kids: 44 tires.  Bonus: 96 feet (wider than most houses!). The 11 cars take up 66 feet, and there are just 10 gaps between them, adding 10 x 3 = 30 more feet.




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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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