Have you ever ridden a bike? Once you learn how to do it, it seems easy. But imagine trying to ride this backwards bike. When you turn the handlebars left, the bike turns right, and when you turn them, right, the bike curves left. Destin of Smarter Every Day built this bike and found out that it’s really hard to make your brain work backwards. He practiced every day for 8 months before he could do it! Guess what: he then tried to ride a regular bike and couldn’t do it anymore! He had to retrain his brain. Destin has told people that if they can ride the bike 10 feet on the first try without falling down, he’ll pay them $200…and as we see in the video, no one has done it. But feel free to try!
Wee ones: If you turn left, then right, then left, then right, then left…which way do you turn next?
Little kids: If you try to ride the 10 feet to win the $200, but you fall down 2 feet before the end, how far did you ride? Bonus: If he took 8 months to make his brain work starting in August, when did he finally succeed?
Big kids: If 3 people ride to the finish without falling down, how much money does Destin have to pay out? Bonus: If he has $1,000 in total to give as prizes, and you’re the first winner, how many more bike-riders could he pay at $200 apiece?
Wee ones: You turn right.
Little kids: 8 feet. Bonus: The following April.
Big kids: $600. Bonus: 4 more riders, since he can handle 5 at most.
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.