Give That Building a Shove

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.

Give That Building a Shove

November 29, 2014

When a building isn’t the right size for what we need, we have some choices. We can add onto it, we can knock it down and build a new one, or we can just move to another building. But sometimes people get fancier than that. In 1930 the Indiana Bell Telephone Company bought a big office building that wasn’t quite right. But instead of knocking it down, they moved it. They jacked up the 8-story, 11,000-ton building and used rollers to move it 52 whole feet and turn it to face another direction. It took almost a month since the building moved so slowly, about 15 inches per hour. Fortunately, it moved so slowly that the company could keep using the building during the move: people could walk in and out, work at their desks, and even use the bathrooms (and the phones!). This has been done to other buildings, too, and it takes a lot of planning. But the company saved a grand old building, and people had some extra excitement while going to the bathroom.

Wee ones: Which has more floors, this 8-story office building or a 3-story house?

Little kids: If your house moved 3 feet this month and 3 feet next month, how far would it have moved?  Bonus: The phone company then added to the 8-story building after moving it. If they’d added 3 new stories on top, how many stories would it have had in total?

Big kids: If you lay down on the sidewalk, how many hours would the building have taken to move from your toes past the top of your head? (You may round up.)  Bonus: How many pounds is11,000 tons, anyway? (Reminder: 1 ton is 2,000 pounds.)




Wee ones: The office building.

Little kids: 6 feet.  Bonus: 11 stories.

Big kids: Different for everyone…see how many 15s you can add together to reach your height in inches.  Bonus: 22,000,000 pounds — that’s 22 million!

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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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