3, 2, 1, Blast-Off!

3, 2, 1, Blast-Off!

July 15, 2020

How high can you jump? And how high can you lift something heavy, like a bowling ball? It’s hard work to lift things, whether it’s a toy or your own body, because gravity keeps pulling everything down. And the hardest one is the rocket, the biggest object we hurl into the air. It takes lots of burning fuel to launch a rocket: The old space shuttle weighed only 165,000 pounds, but the fuel to fly it weighed over 4 million pounds! A rocket burns 45,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and 17,000 gallons of liquid oxygen every minute…just to compare, a car holds only about 20 gallons in total. When rockets fly to bring supplies to the floating International Space Station, it costs another $10,000 for every extra pound a rocket brings…hopefully the astronauts don’t need a bowling ball.

Wee ones: If you toss a bowling ball, a model rocket and a paper airplane, how many toys do you toss?

Little kids: The last 10 seconds before a launch are the most exciting! Can you count down from 10 to 1?  Bonus: Which is more, 8 thousand pounds or 4 million pounds?

Big kids: Astronauts on the Space Station see a sunrise every 90 minutes! If they see one at 8:30 at “night,” when do they see the next?  Bonus: It takes about 150 seconds for a rocket to break out of the Earth’s atmosphere (the layer of air around Earth), and 2 minutes to burn all its solid fuel. Which happens first? (Reminder if needed: A minute has 60 seconds.)











Wee ones: 3 toys.

Little kids: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!  Bonus: 4 million pounds, because a million is a lot, lot more than a thousand.

Big kids: At 10:00.  Bonus: The fuel happens first, because 2 minutes equals just 120 seconds.

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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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