Put Your Wheels in the Air

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.

Put Your Wheels in the Air

July 6, 2018

When you learn to drive, your parents won’t want you to zoom down the road like this. But a few years ago a whole bunch of people in Saudi Arabia started driving like this. It’s called “sidewalk skiing,” because the car rides on just the skinny strip under two wheels on one side. To tip the car, the passengers inside lurch to one side, then the other, until the car finally tilts. Then they move around to balance their weight so the car stays that way, while the driver steers to keep the vehicle on its side. They seem to be going straight enough and fast enough to drive on a regular street, so maybe this isn’t a bad way to drive after all. However, you need other people in the car to balance it, so this will only work for carpool time.

Wee ones: If a car tilts to the left, then the right, then the left, then the right…which way does it tilt next?

Little kids: If a car has 4 wheels and only 2 of them are on the ground, how many are in the air?  Bonus: If 3 cars do wheelies, how many wheels are on the ground now?

Big kids: If you need to drive 60 miles an hour to tilt the car, and you’re going only 47 miles an hour, how much faster do you need to drive to do the stunt?  Bonus: If there are 30 wheels on the ground, with the same number of cars doing wheelies as driving flat, how many cars are driving each way? (Hint if needed: How many wheels do 1 car of each have on the road?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers:
Wee ones: To the left.

Little kids: 2 wheels.  Bonus: 6 wheels

Big kids: 13 miles an hour faster.  Bonus: 5 cars up, 5 driving flat. There are equal numbers of the two types of cars, and each pair (a wheelie and a flat) has 6 wheels on the ground, so for 30 wheels we need 5 pairs like that.

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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 while still in diapers, 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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