From Dawn Till Dusk

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.

From Dawn Till Dusk

July 25, 2014

(Note: As we do for religious holidays, in honor of this month we’re providing a second extra math problem about Ramadan, for those who celebrate or would like to learn more about it. Enjoy!)

Right now the Muslim calendar is in a very special month called Ramadan. It’s the ninth month and is sacred because that’s when the Prophet Muhammad received revelations, according to the Quran. To honor this period of time, grown-up Muslims who are healthy fast (skip eating) from dawn until dusk every day – but the timing of this is very different from place to place during summer and winter, because of sunrise and sunset timing. During the summer, the sun sets very late in the northern half of our planet since it’s tipped towards the Sun. Just north of the equator it’s a normal 12 hours of light, 12 hours of dark, but as you go north the sun sets later and later, until you reach the Arctic Circle where it’s daylight all 24 hours! In the meantime, right now there’s no sun at all at the South Pole. So Muslims who live very far north or south may follow the timing for current sunrise and sunset in Saudi Arabia, or use the sunrise and sunset timings of neighboring areas with proper day and night. But for everyone else, you have to do some math to find out exactly how long you’ll be fasting.

Wee ones: Which is longer, 10 hours of sunlight or 9 hours?

Little kids: If the sun rises at 7 am and sets exactly 12 hours later, at what time does it set?  Bonus: If you finish eating 5 minutes before sunrise and start eating again 10 minutes after sundown on that day, for how long in hours and minutes do you fast?

Big kids: This year Ramadan began on Saturday, June 28 and will end with the festival of Eid al-Fitr on Monday, July 28. Given that Ramadan runs from evening to evening, for how many days will Ramadan last?  Bonus: If you fasted a full 30 days every Ramadan, how many days would you fast over 5 years?




Wee ones: 10 hours.

Little kids: At 7 pm.  Bonus: 12 hours and 15 minutes.

Big kids: 30 days.  Bonus: 150 days.

And thank you Radia M. for helping us with this math problem!

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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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