Getting in Shapes

Getting in Shapes

April 6, 2020

Normally a picture – or anything – being held together by tape is a sign something went wrong. But in this art project by our very own Maura Bigelow and family, the tape makes the shapes! With the help of the family dog, the kids and dog split a big square into smaller shapes by running stripes of wide tape across it. Then they colored in the shapes with sidewalk chalk. Once they peeled away the tape, look what was left behind! Of course, with April showers arriving any day now, this art might not last long… but that’s the perfect excuse to break out the tape and get into shapes again.

Wee ones: Can you find a triangle – a shape with 3 sides – in the picture? Point to it!

Little kids: Which has more total sides: 1 square with 4 sides, or 2 triangles with 3 sides each? Bonus: If this art used up 3 blue chalk sticks, 2 pink, 2 yellow, 2 purple, 1 orange, 1 red, and 1 brown… how many total chalk sticks did it use?

Big kids: How many shapes are inside the square – and how many shapes had to be colored for 1/2 the shapes to get color? Bonus: If there were 26 shapes, and there were 3 times as many blue as red and 3 times as many green as blue, how many shapes of each color would you have? How can you solve this in your head? (You can!)








Wee ones: There are many triangles. 3 easy ones to spot are the yellow triangle in the upper left corner, the blue and red triangles in the upper right corner, and the red triangle touching the bottom edge.

Little kids: The 2 triangles have more sides, because 3 + 3 = 6, more than 4. Bonus: 12 chalk sticks in total. You can combine the alike numbers to keep them straight: 3 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 + 6 + 3 = 12.

Big kids: 34 shapes in total, and half would be 17 shapes. Bonus: You’d have 2 red shapes, 6 blue and 18 green. Why? Because each red shape has 3 blue friends and 9 (3 x the 3 blue) green friends, making a crowd of 1 + 3 + 9  = 13. If there are 26 shapes total, there must be 2 crowds of friends like this.

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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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