Driving a racecar must be really fun. So our fan Elian K. asked for our coolest numbers about Formula 1 racecars. Each car is made of more than 16,000 parts — but one favorite part, the steering wheel, can sometimes pop out. This lets the driver climb in and out faster. Even with all those parts, the cars weigh only 1,500 pounds. They’re so light that they need wings to hold them down, otherwise they’d take off into the air. They say if you drove that racecar upside-down on the roof of a tunnel at 150 miles an hour, the car wouldn’t fall! Finally, the tires get so hot during a race — 250 degrees F — that you could cook an egg on them afterwards. And after all that racing, you might be hungry.
Wee ones: Car tires are circles. Can you see any circles in your room?
Little kids: A racecar has 2 front tires and 2 back tires. How many tires does it have in total? Bonus: If you can cook 2 eggs on each of those tires, can you cook half a dozen (6 eggs) at once?
Big kids: These racecars can drive 220 miles per hour! If you’re speeding at 120, how much faster do you need to drive? Bonus: If you drive 3 times as fast as your usual 65 miles an hour, can you keep up with a 220-mph Formula 1 car?
The sky’s the limit: If after the race, every racecar driver cooks 3 eggs on each front tire and 1 egg on each back tire, and there are 32 more “front” eggs than “back” eggs, how many cars drove in the race?
Wee ones: Answers may include clocks, buttons on clothes, the rim of a cup, or eyelets for shoelaces.
Little kids: 4 tires. Bonus: Yes! You can cook up to 8 eggs at once.
Big kids: 100 miles an hour faster. Bonus: Not quite…you’ll reach 195 miles an hour.
The sky’s the limit: 8 cars, since each car has 4 more front eggs (6 total) than back eggs (2 total).
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.