Happy new year everyone! A lot can happen in one year — or even in just one hour, or minute, or second. With each second that ticks by, around the world 4 babies are born, 2 people die, Earth travels 18 1/2 miles through space, and the International Space Station travels 5 miles around us. In that same second, an unbelievable 20,000 cans of Coca-Cola are sold, along with 9 iPhones. 4 thousand stars are born across the universe. 60 sets of this happen every minute, and then 60 sets of that every hour, and then 24 hour-long sets every day…that gives us 86,400 seconds in a day, and more than 31 million seconds in a year. Let’s see how much happens to us this year!
Wee ones: How long does just 10 seconds feel? To find out, count from 1 to 10 with the word “alligator” after each number!
Little kids: If your cousin just got baby twin sisters, how many more babies were born that same second? Bonus: If in one second 4,000 stars (4 thousand) are born but 1,000 other stars blow up, how many total new stars do we have after that second?
Big kids: If every second we have 2 more people total than before, how many more people should Earth have after the 31,000,000 seconds this year? (That’s 31 million.) Bonus: A secret number of babies is born in your town. If you double that number and add 5, you get 31. How many babies were born?
The sky’s the limit: Just to add to the pile, Americans supposedly eat about 10 billion donuts a year. About how many donuts is that per second? (Hint if needed: A billion is a thousand millions.)
Wee ones: Count 1 alligator, 2 alligator, 3 alligator…up to 10 alligator.
Little kids: 2 other babies. Bonus: 3,000 stars (3 thousand).
Big kids: 62,000,000 more people (62 million, or about 1/5 of the U.S. added on!). Bonus: 13 babies, since it’s half of 26, which is 5 less than 31.
The sky’s the limit: 300 donuts per second. If they ate 10 per second, that would be 310,000,000…if they ate 100 per second, that would be about 3 billion, so they eat about 3 times as much as that, or 300.
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.