Having a (Snow)Ball

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.

Having a (Snow)Ball

January 25, 2013

When it snows outside and you get that really wet, sticky kind of snow, it’s easy to pack it with your hands into a solid white ball that just begs to be thrown.  Sure, you can roll it along the ground to make it bigger, and pile up a few to make a snowman…but it might be even more fun just to chuck it at someone.  We’re not exactly sure who invented the snowball fight, but we do know that in 1863, during the American Civil War, when a few soldiers started chucking friendly snowballs at each other, it turned into a giant fight involving 9,000 soldiers. If serious grownups can get sucked in like that, it’s clear the snowball fight is here to stay.

Wee ones: If you pack 5 snowballs but stack 3 of them into a cute little snowman, how many do you have left for a snowball fight?

Little kids: If it takes you 4 seconds to pack a snowball and 2 more to throw it, how many snowballs can you throw in 18 seconds?  Bonus: If you keep up that pace for a whole minute of snowball fight, how many snowballs can you throw in that time?  (Remember: a minute has 60 seconds.)

Big kids: Apparently on Jan 12, people carted 162,000 pounds of snow into downtown Seattle to break the world record for the largest snowball fight.  If half of it got packed into snowballs ahead of time, how many pounds of snow was that?  Bonus: This snowball fight had 5,834 participants; the previous record from Korea involved 5,387 people.  How many more participated in Seattle?  (Hint: you can figure out how many more would get it to 5,400, then to 5,800, then to 5,834.)

 

 

 

Answers:
Wee ones: 2 leftover snowballs.

Little kids: 3 snowballs, since each one takes 6 seconds total.  Bonus: 10 snowballs.

Big kids: 81,000 pounds of pre-packed snow.  Bonus: 447 more people.

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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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