Your Own Rocket Car

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.

Your Own Rocket Car

January 18, 2018

It’s hard to launch a rocket. Rockets weigh thousands of tons, and they have to fight gravity and our thick air to push into outer space. So those fiery engines have to be incredibly strong. So people started wondering, what if you put a rocket engine on a CAR? How fast could we drive? Well, the engineers working on the Bloodhound project hope to build a car that can drive 1,000 miles an hour. Here’s the problem: the fuel needed to drive that fast weighs so much, it could crush the car itself. Also, the air rushing under that fast a car makes the car fly. So you need flat tail pieces to hold the car down! The Bloodhound team made a car in 1997 that broke the land speed record, at 763 miles per hour. That’s more than 10 times as fast as cars on a highway. If you’re in a hurry, the new Bloodhound might be a great car for you.

Wee ones: If your car has 3 rocket engines and you add 1 more, how many does it have now?

Little kids: If you’re looking at 10 cars and secretly 1 is a rocket car, how many aren’t?  Bonus: If your rocket car drives 10 miles the 1st minute, flies 12 miles the 2nd minute, and drives 14 miles the 3rd minute…what does it do the 4th minute to follow the pattern?

Big kids: If your grandma’s house normally takes a 30-minute drive down the highway, how fast would you get there in a car that drives 10 times as fast?  Bonus: If you and a rocket car start 22 miles apart and drive right at each other, and the part it drives is 10 times as far as you drive, how far from your starting point do you meet?




Wee ones: 4 rocket engines.

Little kids: 9 cars.  Bonus: Fly 16 miles, since each minute you travel 2 miles more than during the previous minute.

Big kids: Just 3 minutes!  Bonus: 2 miles. Every 10 sets of miles it drives, you drive 1 set, so together you drive 11 sets of distance. 22 miles can carve up into 11 sets of 2 miles. So the rocket car drives 20, and you drive 2.

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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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