Boats can float in any size. It could be the toy boat splashing in your bathtub, or a real rowboat for 2 people. Then there are cruise ships that hold thousands of people, like an apartment building on water. But we can always build bigger. This week a huge new ship, the Harmony of the Seas, docked in England to get ready for its first voyage. The Harmony stretches 1,188 feet long — a whole 330 feet longer than the Titanic, the famous giant ship that sank in 1912. It can hold 8,880 people, including 2,100 crew members to take care of everyone. Best of all, it has the world’s tallest water slide at sea, a fish-shaped pair of tubes that start 10 stories high. For anyone who’s looking for excitement, that sounds a lot better than jumping overboard.
Wee ones: If you’re zooming down that water slide, what numbers do you say to count the 10 stories as you fall?
Little kids: On Sunday the ship will make its first trip, a 4-day voyage to the Netherlands and back. On what weekday will it come back if Sunday counts as its 1st day? Bonus: The water slide is 100 feet tall. If it starts 500 feet above the ocean, how far above water do you end your ride?
Big kids: It took 32 months to build this ship! If it finished in May 2016, when did the building start? Bonus: If 2,100 of the 8,880 people on board work as crew members, how many actual paying passengers get to ride the ship?
Wee ones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ,7, 8, 9, 10.
Little kids: On Wednesday. Bonus: 400 feet.
Big kids: September 2013. 32 months is 2 years 8 months; 2 years ago was May 2014, so we then count 8 months back. Bonus: 6,780 passengers.
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.