Have you ever wondered how many steps you take in a day? The answer isn’t obvious. You might be running all over a soccer field for an hour, then sitting and eating a snack the next. And you’re going to sit around more on a rainy day than a sunny one. But even with all that, scientists have found that healthy kids take about 9,000 steps a day. So what does that come to in a year — or your whole life so far? That’s where math can help!
Wee ones: If you step with your left foot, then your right foot, then your left, then your right…how many steps have you taken?
Little kids: If you took 9 thousand steps yesterday and 7 thousand today, on which day did you take more? Bonus: If you take 2,000 steps each day, how many do you take in 5 weekdays? Add up the thousands!
Big kids: If you take a whole 10,000 steps a day, how many does that come to in 1 365-day year? (Hint if needed: As a first step, what if you took just 1,000 steps per day?) Bonus: Now figure out about how many steps you’ve taken in your life! You can round off to years or half-years to estimate. And remember, you don’t start walking at birth!
Wee ones: 4 steps.
Little kids: You took more steps yesterday. Bonus: 10,000 steps.
Big kids: 3,650,000, which is more than 3 million! Bonus: Different for everyone…you can round to 3 million or 4 million per year, then multiply by your age minus 1 or 2 since most kids start walking around age 1, and don’t walk very far those first couple of years.
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.