For over 1,000 years, trees have been used as a decoration for Christmas as well as winter festivals of all kinds. And every winter one of the splashiest, most famous trees of all is the giant spruce at Rockefeller Center. When Bedtime Math fan Anoushka M. visited it last week, she asked us, how tall is that tree? This year the Rock Center tree is 78 feet tall, and last year’s was actually 7 feet taller than that. But there’s a limit on how tall a tree they can use: Norway spruces are about twice as tall as they are wide, and only a tree less than 55 feet wide can fit under the bridges and through the streets…so it can’t be more than 110 feet tall. This year’s tree is much shorter than that, but it still holds 45,000 tiny lights — and a 9 1/2-foot star that weighs 550 pounds! People’s own trees at home, like Anoushka’s here above, may not stand as tall, but they’re just as sparkly and festive.
Wee ones: The star on the big tree has 12 points. Is that more or less than a 5-pointed star?
Little kids: If it takes 5 hours to drive the tree into the city to Rockefeller Center, when does the tree arrive if the trip starts at 1:00 pm? Bonus: If you stand next to that 9 1/2-foot star, how much taller than you would it be? (You can round your height to the nearest 1/2 foot).
Big kids: Best of all, the wood from the tree will be used to build houses for the poor — and 2015 is the 9th year they’re doing it. In what year was the 1st? Bonus: If a tree in someone’s house is 6 feet tall, how many of those would you have to stack to stand as tall as the 78-foot tree?
Wee ones: More points.
Little kids: At 6 pm. Bonus: Different for everyone…count the feet between your height and 9 1/2 feet.
Big kids: In 2007. We don’t subtract 9 — that would give you the “zero” year. If it’s the 9th year, the 1st year was 8 years ago. Bonus: 13 trees!