Really Chilly Flowers

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.

Really Chilly Flowers

February 10, 2019

It’s pretty darn cold in parts of the U.S. right now, but believe us, it’s even colder in other places. The Arctic Ocean is way below freezing, with some spots around -2 degrees F. But thanks to the freezing cold, amazing ice shapes can grow, including these “frost flowers” that University of Washington professor Jody Deming and her student Jeff Bowman found. Just as frozen water sticks together to make lacy snowflakes, water droplets can pile up on floating ice to make these spiky shapes. We just hope the photographers like the cold — as we see here, they stood in that water to take the pictures!

Wee ones: The ice flowers are white. Try to spot 5 white things in your room.

Little kids: Which is colder, a day that’s 5 degrees F, or a day that’s 10 degrees F? (Lower numbers are colder.)  Bonus: If the team took a 5-hour flight and a 6-hour boat ride to reach this chilly spot, how long did it take to get there?

Big kids: In the winter there, the sun barely peeks up above the water. If it shone for just the 2 middle hours of the day, when did the sun rise and set?  Bonus: If Jeff is 6 feet tall and only 42 inches of him is above that freezing water, how much of his height is underwater? (Reminder if needed: One foot has 12 inches.)












Wee ones: Items might include socks, bedsheets, pillow cases, and paper.

Little kids: The 5-degree day.  Bonus: 11 hours.

Big kids: From 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, since noon (12 pm) is midday.  Bonus: 30 inches, since he’s 72 inches tall.

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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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