A Surprise in the Shower

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.

A Surprise in the Shower

August 9, 2015

We all love a nice hot shower: you feel clean and calm when you’re done. And we can finish all that in just a few minutes. But lots of people hang out in the shower longer than they need to, which wastes water. So a woman named Elisabeth Buecher invented a shower curtain that solves the problem. After exactly 4 minutes, the curtain fills up with air like a balloon or kiddie swimming pool, making all these pointy shapes blow up and stick at you. So if you’re taking too long, your shower curtain will actually poke you in the butt and chase you out of the bathroom. A shower head pumps out more than 2 gallons a minute, so if you cut your shower down by just 5 minutes, you save 10 gallons of water in that one shower; that’s enough drinking water for 20 days! Do that over and over, and we can all save a lot of water.

Wee ones: If you’ve showered for 5 minutes but need 1 more minute to scrub between your toes, how long does your shower take?

Little kids: If you spend 3 minutes in the shower cleaning yourself, 2 minutes trying to catch water in your mouth, and 3 minutes shampooing, how long does that all take?  Bonus: If that uses exactly 2 gallons of water per minute, how many gallons do you use?

Big kids: If you shower every day for 4 minutes, how many minutes a week is that?  Bonus: At least if you’re taking a shower, you’re saving a lot of water compared to a 30-gallon bath. If you shower for 7 minutes at 2 gallons a minute, by how much does that beat a bath?

The sky’s the limit: One gallon holds 16 cups of water, and we’re supposed to drink 8 cups a day. If you shorten your shower from 8 minutes to 5 each day, how many people’s drinking water do you save that day?




Wee ones: 6 minutes.

Little kids: 8 minutes.  Bonus: 16 gallons.

Big kids: 28 minutes — almost a half hour.  Bonus: 16 gallons, since you use just 14 showering.

The sky’s the limit: 12 people. You’ve saved 3 minutes of water, which is 6 gallons. Each gallon equals enough water for 2 people, so you’ve saved drinking water for 12 people. That’s about 4-6 families!

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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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