Stowaway Snake

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.

Stowaway Snake

July 15, 2014

Sometimes cars just stop working right in the middle of the road. The engine can overheat, or run out of gas before reaching one of the many gas stations in yesterday’s math problem. Or it can be a really weird reason — like last week, when in New Mexico a woman’s car stalled and a guy named Jonathan Ault kindly stopped to help. He opened the front flap of the car, called the hood, to see what was going on inside, and found a giant snake slithering around the engine! It was a 9-foot long python weighing about 20 pounds. He and the car owner both freaked out, as you can imagine, but the police officer who showed up happily played with it, as he knew this type of snake is not poisonous or big enough to be dangerous. The snake is probably a baby girl, and probably a pet that snuck out of someone’s house and settled on the engine to get warm. She’ll grow up to be twice as long, and we’re pretty sure she’ll want to buy a car.

Wee ones: Who’s longer, you or a 9-foot snake? Try measuring 9 feet on the floor to see what that looks like!

Little kids: If the snake just turned 2 months old this month, in what month was she born? (Assume you’re reading this in July.)  Bonus: If that 9-foot snake will become twice as long as an adult, how long will she be?

Big kids: Snakes, like all reptiles, need the sun or hot objects to warm them up. If it was 62 degrees at night and the car engine was 47 degrees warmer when the snake climbed in, how warm was the engine?  Bonus: If the snake slithered into the car at 8:52 pm that night and they found it at 2:32 pm the next day, how long did the snake hang out in the car?

The sky’s the limit: If the snake decides to ride along every day, and on the 1st day the owner drives the car 1 mile, then 3 the 2nd day, then 5 miles the third day, and progressive odd numbers from then on, how many miles does the snake get to ride in 20 days?




Wee ones: The snake…we’re guessing you’re not 9 feet tall!

Little kids: In May.  Bonus: 18 feet long.

Big kids: 109 degrees.  Bonus: 17 hours and 40 minutes.

The sky’s the limit: 400 miles total. If you start adding these numbers, you’ll see that the snake rode 1 mile the 1st day, 4 miles (3+1) by the 2nd day, 9 miles (5+3+1) the 3rd day…the total at any point is the number of that day times itself! When you add consecutive odd numbers, you get the perfect square series, where a perfect square is a number times itself (since that gives the area of a square that size). So in 20 days the snake will ride 20 x 20, or 400 miles.

And if you want to ride along with Bedtime Math, you can now check out our new iPad version of the app! Bigger pictures, better menus, and some fun new silly cartoon characters to bring you the answers.

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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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