No, this isn’t a picture out of a Dr. Seuss book. The trees in this photo are real, and they really are blue! A couple of years ago, artist Konstantin Dimopoulous started to paint trees, like these growing near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England. He did the project to remind people that trees are disappearing from Earth, and that life could look very different if we don’t take care of them. The paint is safe for the trees and eventually washed off. Until then, it was kind of pretty, but also kind of weird. The real question is, how long did it take to paint them?
Wee ones: If you’ve painted 5 blue trees and your friend has painted 7 blue trees, which of you has painted more?
Little kids: If you’re 4 feet tall and your ladder lets you reach 5 feet higher than that, how high on these trees could you paint? Bonus: If a bigger ladder lets you paint up to 13 feet high on the tree, how much taller is the new ladder?
Big kids: If Konstantin painted 500 trees and used 2 one-gallon buckets of paint on each, how many buckets of blue paint did he use? Bonus: If he painted 100 trees each day starting on a Tuesday, on what day did he finish painting half of the 500 trees?
Wee ones: Your friend has painted more trees.
Little kids: 9 feet high. Bonus: 4 feet higher, since 13 is 4 more than 9.
Big kids: 1,000 buckets of paint. Bonus: He finished the 250th tree on Thursday.
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.