Sticky Pictures

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.

Sticky Pictures

September 3, 2014

Post-it® Notes, those colorful, sticky squares of paper, are the most fun school supplies out there. They were invented by accident back in 1968, when 3M employee Spencer Silver made a glue that wasn’t as strong as he wanted, but turned out perfect for sticking paper together temporarily. Today people use Post-it® Notes as bookmarks, name labels, reminders to themselves — and as art. Artists got together at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to create a “pointillist” picture, which means art made of zillions of colored dots, like our recent cake-sprinkle puppy picture. Here, over 2,000 of the 3-inch square stickies form a giant image that’s much taller than you are. Up close it’s hard to see what it is, but if you step back – or look at a tiny copy – you see that it’s a picture of musicians. Hopefully those Post-it® Notes don’t all list tasks we need to do!

Wee ones: How many colors of Post-it® Notes can you count in the mural? Count as many as you can! (You can skip black and white, since technically those aren’t “colors.”)

Little kids: If you use 9 orange Post-it® Notes to make a drum, but then cover the center one with a different color, how many orange Post-it® Notes are still showing?  Bonus: If you stick 10 Post-it® Notes on your bedroom door to make a flower, then stick 10 more on the wall to make another, how many Post-it® Notes do your flowers use?

Big kids: The mural appears to have 28 rows of Post-it® Notes top to bottom. If each sticky note is 3 inches tall and all rows touch without overlapping, how tall is the picture in feet? (Reminder: One foot has 12 inches)  Bonus: It looks like the picture is 80 Post-it® Notes wide. How many Post-it® Notes were used to make the picture? (Hint if needed: To multiply by 80, you can multiply by 8 first, then by 10…and to multiply by 8, which is 2x2x2, you can just double the number 3 times in a row.)




Wee ones: We count 8 colors: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, medium blue, and purple.

Little kids: 8 Post-it® Notes.  Bonus: 20 Post-it® Notes.

Big kids: 7 feet, since each set of 4 sticky squares makes 1 foot.  Bonus: 2,240 Post-it® Notes!

And for more ideas on cool creative Post-it® Notes projects, check out their Ideas page!

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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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