Skiing is a pretty crazy sport, when you think about it. We strap a long board to each foot so we can slide really, really fast on snow. Then we stand at the top of a hill, give ourselves a push, and zoom down the slippery snow at full speed. The longer the ski, the more snow your weight spreads out across, and the faster you go. So the longest skis in the world would give you a wild ride, right? The record-breaking skis, made in Norway in 2011, were over 1,800 feet long! But they held 170 skiers on them, so that weight slowed them down…but the team skied forward 44 feet!
Wee ones: If you strap 1 ski onto each of your feet, how many skis are you wearing?
Little kids: If you and 2 friends share a pair of skis, how many feet do you all have? Bonus: If you squeezed yourself onto those giant skis with the 170 people, now how many people are riding them?
Big kids: Which is longer, the 1,800-foot skis or a mile? Find out how long a mile is! Bonus: If of 170 people standing on those skis, half of them stood on just 1 foot, how many feet were down on the skis?
Wee ones: 2 skis.
Little kids: 6 feet. Bonus: 171 people.
Big kids: A mile, since it’s 5,280 feet…but those skis are more than 1/4 mile! Bonus: 255 snow boots.
And a big thank-you to Darci-Anna V. for this great math problem suggestion!
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.