Sure, the Three Little Pigs built their houses out of straw, then sticks, then bricks. But did they ever think about using Lego? A few years ago people built a life-size house out of normal-sized Lego. A show called “James May’s Toy Stories” brought together 1,200 people to build it, and it took them over a month! The 20-foot-tall striped house used more than 3 million bricks, and even had a bumpy bed that probably wasn’t so comfy. No Big Bad Wolf ever came to blow the house down: instead a team took it apart and gave the pieces to kids. But this might have been strong enough for that third little pig.
Wee ones: If the house used 5 Lego colors but you wanted to add green, how many colors would the house use then?
Little kids: If the stripes were white, red, blue, yellow, black, and then started over to repeat, what color would the 12th stripe be? Bonus: If you stand as tall as the 20th stripe, how many full sets of 5 colors would that be?
Big kids: Can you write the number 3 million in digits? How many zeros do you need? Bonus: The volunteers started building on August 1 of that year, and finished on September 17. How many days after starting did they finish?
Wee ones: 6 colors.
Little kids: Red: since the colors repeat in 5s, it would be the same color as the 2nd stripe. Bonus: 4 full sets.
Big kids: 3,000,000, which has 6 zeros. Bonus: 47 days. August has 31 days, so August 31 is 30 days after the start. Then you add another 17 days.
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.